U.S. authorities have arrested a former journalist and congressional staffer on charges she worked as an Iraqi spy. The 41-year-old suspect's name is Susan Lindauer. She was arrested Thursday at her Maryland home outside of Washington.
Prosecutors accuse Ms. Lindauer of passing secret information to the Iraqi Intelligence Service before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They say she received a total of $10,000 for her work.
As she was led to a car outside the Baltimore, Maryland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation she told a Baltimore television station she is innocent. She added she is an anti-war activist who worked to get weapons inspectors into Iraq.
Ms. Lindauer has worked for several news publications and at the U.S. Capitol for a number of Democratic senators and representatives. U.S. News and World Report spokesman Richard Folkers says the suspect worked at the magazine more than a decade ago, for less than one year, as a researcher.
"During the time she was here - which was from September of 1990 to August of '91 - I found 18 stories she worked on," he said. "Virtually all of which was for our 'News You Can Use' section, which largely had to do with kind of consumer issues - from personal health, to finance, to technology."
Mr. Folkers says there was no indication at the time she could be involved in spying. He added that Ms. Lindauer is innocent until proven guilty.
"The important thing to remember is we're a bunch of reporters here," he said. "We only know of allegations, not of fact."
One former employer, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from California issued a statement saying she was shocked to hear Ms. Lindauer has been indicted as an Iraqi spy.
Ms. Lindauer was Representative Lofgren's press secretary for eight weeks in 2002. The Congresswoman says she had no reason to think Ms. Lindauer was involved in spying for Iraq. She added that her former employee had no access to sensitive information.
According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in New York City, Ms. Lindauer made multiple visits to the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations, from October 1999 through March 2002.
More recently, prosecutors accuse her of meeting with an undercover FBI agent, who posed as a Libyan intelligence representative seeking to support resistance groups in post-war Iraq. The indictment says Ms. Lindauer kept in touch with the undercover agent via e-mail until last month.
The charges against her are included in an expanded indictment against two sons of a former Iraqi diplomat. They are alleged to have provided Iraqi intelligence agents with information about Iraqi dissidents living in the United States.
If Ms. Lindauer is convicted on all counts, she could face 25 years in prison.