WASHINGTON— A suburban Chicago man has been convicted of serving as a long-time agent of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in the United States, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, announced today.
The defendant, Sami Khoshaba Latchin, 59, of 9399 Bay Colony Dr., Des Plaines, Ill., was found guilty this morning by a federal jury on all counts of a five-count superseding indictment returned in July 2006. The indictment accuses Latchin of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the U.S., conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent in the U.S., violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, lying to the FBI in an interview, and obtaining U.S. citizenship under false pretenses.
Latchin faces a maximum of 42 years imprisonment. Sentencing has been set for July 9, 2007 at 12:00 p.m. Latchin is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Dohuk, Iraq, and has lived in the United States since 1993. He has been taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Among other things, the jury found that in the early 1990s, a committee of senior officers and directors from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS), also known as the Mukhabbarat, created a program to “plant” IIS agents overseas to support the strategic interests of the IIS and Government of Iraq. The IIS Committee selected Latchin, an IIS agent, for placement in the United States as a “sleeper” agent. Latchin was tasked to immigrate to the United States, find employment, gain U.S. citizenship, and eventually provide intelligence information to the Iraqi government.
Latchin immigrated to the United States in 1993 and, from that date and continuing through at least July 2002, he acted as an illegal agent of the Iraqi government in the United States. He communicated with intelligence officers of the IIS; traveled to Europe, Iraq, Jordan and other locations to meet with intelligence officers of the IIS and received payments from the Iraqi government, including a $24,000 payment from two IIS intelligence officers he met in Jordan.
In 1999, Latchin made materially false statements on his application for U.S. citizenship by concealing his affiliation with the IIS and Iraq’s Baath Party and by lying about his employer as well as some of his overseas travels in the 1990s.
In 2003, Latchin again made false statements when he represented during an interview with the FBI that he had never worked for the IIS, had never accepted money from the IIS, had never provided names or information to the IIS, and had never met with anyone from the IIS while traveling outside the United States.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Chicago Field Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Conway and Victoria J. Peters of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Senior Trial Attorneys Clifford I. Rones and Kathleen Kedian of the Justice Department’s National Security Division also assisted in the case.