Intelligence: February 6, 2003


The vast majority of the 300,000 Iraqis living in the United States are anti-Saddam. But Iraq is believed to have recruited some of them, mostly students, as spies. Iraq may have also recruited Arab immigrants from other nations. A small minority of Arab immigrants, mostly young men, see Saddam as an Arab hero and are susceptible to recruitment. Iraqi recruitment operations in the past were not very well done, or very effective. But the continuing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, plus the decidedly pro-Palestinian attitudes on American college campuses create a better atmosphere for Iraqi recruiters. There is also concern about the estimated 3,000 Iraqis who are in the US illegally. Saddam has, in the past, sent intelligence officers overseas as secret agents, often pretending to be refugees. While some of these agents may have entered the US with the 50,000 Iraqi refugees who legally entered since 1991, it is more likely they entered using false documents. The FBI is now trying to identify and interrogate all the illegal Iraqi immigrants in the US. Attempts to keep an eye on campus recruitment for al Qaeda or Iraq will face a hostile atmosphere and accusations of "government spying" (well, that's what the FBI is there for). Even many members of Congress are against allowing the FBI to dig too deeply looking for terrorist or espionage activity within the United States. 


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