Hill Aide Subpoenaed in Spy Case

Posted March 26, 2004 at 5:12pm

Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) chief of staff has been served with a grand jury subpoena for documents involving Susan Lindauer, a former Congressional staffer indicted on charges that she acted as a paid intelligence agent for Iraq.

Lindauer, a Takoma Park, Md., resident who had previously worked in the press shops of several Capitol Hill Democrats including Lofgren, was arrested March 11 and charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Iraq and engaging in prohibited financial transactions with Saddam Hussein’s government.

The indictment, handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Lindauer met with officers of the Iraqi Intelligence Service on several occasions between 1999 and 2002 in Manhattan and accepted payment for travel, lodging and meals.

The indictment further alleges that she traveled to Iraq in February 2002 on the IIS’ tab, received cash payments of $5,000 and subsequently delivered a letter describing her contact with members of Hussein’s regime to the home of a U.S. government official. Media accounts have identified that official as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Lindauer’s second cousin.

The indictment also alleges that Lindauer in 2003 met with an undercover agent of the FBI posing as a member of the Libyan intelligence service and discussed the “need for plans and foreign resources to support resistance groups operating in Iraq.”

Lofgren Chief of Staff David Thomas confirmed that the subpoena was related to the Lindauer case and said it was “related to her employment in Congresswoman Lofgren’s office.

“As I am her chief of staff, I am the keeper of the records,” Thomas said.

As required by House rules, the subpoena was disclosed in a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) that was printed in the March 24 Congressional Record.

Lindauer, 40, has pleaded innocent to the charges against her and was released on $500,000 bond. She faces a possible 25 years in prison if convicted.

Lindauer worked for Lofgren for an eight-week period as her communications director from March 11 until May 14, 2002. She also worked in the press offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in 1994, then-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) from January 1996 to September of that year, and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) from May 1993 to January 1994.

In a statement issued the day of Lindauer’s arrest, Lofgren expressed surprise about the indictment.

“I was shocked to learn from news reports today that Ms. Susan Lindauer … was indicted for ‘conspiring to act as a spy for the Iraqi Intelligence Service,’” Lofgren said.

“To my knowledge, this former employee had no access to sensitive information,” Lofgren stated. “Obviously, I had no reason to think she was involved in this alleged activity. I have had no further contact with her since she left my employ. If there is any way I can assist with the investigation, I will happily do so.”