FBI: California man spied for Saddam

9/22/2006 12:53:52 AM

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The FBI has accused a Los Angeles man of spying for Saddam Hussein when the former Iraqi leader was in power.

The FBI said William Shaoul Benjamin, code-named "9211" by the Iraqi Intelligence Service under Saddam, gathered information for the service in exchange for cash and whiskey, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Thursday.

Benjamin was arrested Sept. 14 and indicted by a federal grand jury for failing to register as an agent of a foreign government. The FBI said he will also face charges of conspiracy and making false statements.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, said Benjamin's job was to gather information on U.S. organizations hostile to Iraq's former government and report on groups and their members to Iraqi intelligence, the Daily News said.

Benjamin has pleaded innocent to the charges and was released on $500,000 bail and required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. If convicted on all counts in his trial, set to begin Nov. 7, he could face 20 years in prison.