It's no secret that Bashar al-Assad keeps a ruthless check on dissidents in Syria, but his reach apparently extends to the US. The feds yesterday arrested a naturalized US citizen in Leesburg, Va., who allegedly spied on Syrian protesters in this country and sent along the information to Assad's intelligence agency, reports Leesburg Today. Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, is accused of making video and audio recording of protesters and providing names and contact information.
"Our national security is threatened when foreign governments use unregistered agents in an attempt to influence and intimidate those who live here lawfully," said an FBI official. "Their alleged acts desecrate the values cherished in our fair and open society." Soueid, who was born in Syria, reportedly met with Assad himself in June during a trip to his native land, notes CNN. Among the charges: conspiring to act and acting as an agent of the Syrian government in the US without notifying the attorney general as required by law. (Read more Syria stories.)