LOS ANGELES – A man accused of collecting intelligence for Saddam Hussein's regime during the 1990s was indicted on charges of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, authorities said Wednesday.
Benjamin allegedly worked with the Iraqi Intelligence Service between 1993 and 2001, the FBI said. An Iraqi-born naturalized citizen, he was arrested Sept. 14. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bond.
A call to Benjamin's attorney, James Blatt, was not immediately returned.
Codenamed "9211," Benjamin allegedly worked with the Iraqi Intelligence Service between 1993 and 2001, infiltrating groups and organizations considered hostile to Saddam's government and relaying information to his Iraqi handlers. Prosecutors refused to say which groups he allegedly monitored.
He also traveled to Iraq to train with intelligence officers, authorities said. In June 2001, an Iraqi agent went to Tunisia to meet with Benjamin.
In return, he received money, gifts and other compensation from the IIS, according to authorities.
The FBI says that he not only failed to state he was a paid source for Iraq intelligence in his application for U.S. citizenship, but also falsely declared that he had renounced allegiance to Iraq.
If convicted on all counts, Benjamin faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.