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Syrian Hacker to Face US Charges

  • Wayne Lee

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo illustration, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles. Peter Romar, an alleged member of the hacking group Syrian Electronic Army, is being extradited and was flown Monday from Germany.

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo illustration, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles. Peter Romar, an alleged member of the hacking group Syrian Electronic Army, is being extradited and was flown Monday from Germany.

An alleged Syrian computer hacker sympathetic to the Syrian government is scheduled appear in U.S. federal court Tuesday to face conspiracy charges in connection with a hacking-related blackmail plot.

A U.S. law enforcement official said Peter Romar, an alleged member of the hacking group Syrian Electronic Army, is being extradited and was flown Monday from Germany.

Romar, a Syrian national who lives in Germany, is scheduled to appear Wednesday federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Romar is one of three Syrian nationals charged by U.S. prosecutors in March. The other defendants are believed to still be in Syria.

Prosecutors alleged their activities included attempts to blackmail victims and transfer their extortion payments to Syria.

At the time of the indictment, the U.S. Justice Department said they allegedly targeted computers belonging to American media outlets, Microsoft Corporation, Harvard University and Human Rights Watch.

Their most notorious case allegedly involved the hacking of an Associated Press Twitter account in 2013 and the issuing a message indicating the White House had been bombed and President Barack Obama was hurt. The hack caused a temporary sharp decline in the stock market.

The indictment alleges the hackers also unsuccessfully tried on multiple occasions to infiltrate the White House data systems.

The two other alleged hackers, Ahmad Umar Agha and Firas Dardar have been placed on the FBI's "Cyber Most Wanted" list. The FBI is offering $100,000 rewards for information leading to their arrests.

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