TAKOMA PARK, Md. – A woman accused of acting as a paid Iraqi intelligence agent said Wednesday she is misunderstood and was only trying to help prevent a war in Iraq (search).
Susan Lindauer (search) told The Associated Press she was being punished because she got involved in U.S. foreign policy. She said her intent was to persuade Iraq to allow weapons inspections before the war and to get it to cooperate with the war on terror.
"What I did was never illegal," she said. "I never participated in activities that would create violence against this country."
Herbert Hadad, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, where Lindauer has been indicted, declined to comment.
According to the indictment, Lindauer, 40, tried to pass a letter last year to a U.S. government official that outlined her access to members of Saddam Hussein's (search) regime. A government source told the AP the letter's recipient was White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card (search), Lindauer's second cousin.
The indictment alleges that Lindauer met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Libyan to discuss helping resistance groups in Iraq. It also claims she met several times with members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (search), which has been linked to an assassination attempt on former President George Bush.
Lindauer pleaded innocent Monday to the charges. She had been arrested last week at her Takoma Park home, but has been released on a $500,000 bond and must undergo psychological counseling. If convicted, she faces 25 years in prison.
Lindauer described her gradual change from peace activist to self-appointed conflict mediator for the United States in the Middle East.
Lindauer said she was only trying to help.
"It is utter hypocrisy for government officials to pontificate about their own commitment to important projects and then reject or resist the participation of Americans in those projects," she said.