Indiana Man Charged with Working with Former
Iraqi Intelligence Officers in the United States

(FBI) Susan W. Brooks, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, together with Keith Lourdeau, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Indiana announced the indictment and arrest of a central Indiana resident who allegedly traveled to Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and agreed to sell the names of US intelligence operatives in that country to Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service for $3 million. SHAABAN HAFIZ AHMAD ALI SHAABAN, also known as SHAABAN HAFED, also known as Joe Brown, age 52, who Shaaban – never registered as an agent of Iraq as required under federal law, yet in 2002 and 2003 when he lived in Indianapolis, Indiana the indictment alleges that SHAABAN committed the following specific acts:

  • Traveled to Baghdad in late 2002 where he agreed to sell names of U.S. intelligence agents and operatives to Iraq for $3 million dollars.
  • Sought to gain Iraqi support to establish an Arabic television station in the United States that would broadcast news and discussions that would be pro-Iraqi.
  • Sought enter into a “Cooperation Agreement” where he would be paid a fee by Iraq to organize volunteers to act as human shields to protect Iraqi infrastructure during the war.
  • Broadcast messages of support for the Iraqi government on Iraqi media stations that advocated support for Iraq and encouraged others to forcibly resist the United States and others who opposed Iraq.

The Government has charged Shaaban with Conspiracy, Acting as a Foreign Agent without Notification, violations of the Iraqi Sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Unlawful Procurement of an Identification Document and Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. The arrest resulted from an indictment that was returned and unsealed following SHAABAN’s arrest and initial court appearance in Federal Court. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was assisted by the Department of Homeland Security agencies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration.

According to United States Attorney Susan W. Brooks, federal law requires individuals – other than diplomats, consular officers, and attaches – who agree to act as an agent of a foreign government to register with the Attorney General. United States Attorney Brooks further stated Shaaban – under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act [IEEPA] and the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations, banned travel and any transactions with Iraq unless authorized to by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. These sanctions were continually in place until May 2003 when certain sanctions were lifted and it was not until July 2004, when the President declared that the national emergency with Iraq was over.

The indictment alleges Shaaban traveled to Iraq in late 2002, and while there met with members of the IIS, or Iraqi Intelligence Service. The IIS, known in Arabic as the Da’irat al-Mukhabbarat al-‘Amma, or the Mukhabbarat, was the foreign intelligence arm of Iraq. The missions of the IIS included foreign intelligence collection (the gathering of information regarding the intentions of foreign governments), counterintelligence (the detecting of efforts by foreign governments to gather intelligence about the Iraq), and the collection of information regarding individuals and groups considered hostile to the Iraq.

Finally, the indictment alleges that SHAABAN uses two distinct identities and unlawfully obtained an Indiana commercial drivers license under his assumed name of Shaaban Shaaban Hafed. The indictment also alleges that SHAABAN failed to disclose his separate identity when he applied to become a naturalized citizen and thereby unlawfully obtained his citizenship.

“Seeking out those who would work with foreign governments and organizations hostile to this country is the top priority of the Department of Justice,” stated United States Attorney Brooks. “Agreeing to provide names of United States operatives to Iraq in the months Shaaban –

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Lourdeau stated, “While it is not alleged that SHAABAN was an actual Iraqi Intelligence Officer and charged with espionage, it is alleged that SHAABAN sought to assist intelligence officers. Our national security is constantly threatened by foreign intelligence services and their assets who wish to enhance their strategic position against the United States. The FBI will aggressively pursue those individuals who seek to provide sensitive information to hostile governments.”

“The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were created because individuals like SHAABAN were able to exploit gaps in the nation’s immigration system,” said Michelle Mangold, Acting Resident Agent in Charge for the Indianapolis ICE office, whose agency assisted in the investigation. “The defendant is charged with creating two separate identities for himself in this country and was able to obtain U.S. citizenship through illegal means, which poses a serious threat to our nation’s security. ICE is committed to restoring integrity to our nation’s immigration system.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Sharon M. Jackson, who is prosecuting the case for the government, each count other than the conspiracy count carries maximum possible prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum possible fine of $250,000. The conspiracy count carries a maximum possible prison sentence of 5 years and a maximum possible fine of $250,000. If convicted of unlawfully procuring citizenship or naturalization, another component of the sentence is automatic de-naturalization.

An initial hearing was held before US Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields.

The indictment is an allegation only, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.