Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Syria Spies on American Protesters

by Elliott Abrams
July 8, 2011

In a remarkable revelation today , the State Department acknowledged that the Syrian Embassy in Washington is tracking Americans, and Syrians visiting or living in the United States, who protest against the crimes of Assad regime.

Here is the comment by State:

Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell called Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustapha into the State Department on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 to express a number of our concerns with the reported actions of certain Syrian embassy staff in the United States.

We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador Mustapha’s authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States.

The United States Government takes very seriously reports of any foreign government actions attempting to intimidate individuals in the United States who are exercising their lawful right to freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution. We are also investigating reports that the Syrian government has sought retribution against Syrian family members for the actions of their relatives in the United States exercising their lawful rights in this country and will respond accordingly.

The FBI must be asked to investigate this immediately. If the reports are true, the Syrian ambassador should be thrown out of the United States without delay.

The Syrian regime may respond by asking the U.S. ambassador in Damascus to leave. Amb. Ford’s visit to Hama, scene of gigantic demonstrations against Assad, has suggested that his presence in Syria can actually be used against the regime. Chances are that if he continues this conduct, as he should, they’ll throw him out soon enough anyway. In any event the possible ejection of Amb. Ford cannot be determinative of our conduct here. The odious Syrian regime cannot be permitted to bring to our shores the practices with which it has terrorized Syria for decades.

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  • Posted by Dean A. Smallwood

    After having voiced his enmity for the United States several years ago , I can’t understand why he was ever allowed to enter this country to begin with .

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