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VALLEY MAN INDICTED AS IRAQI AGENT.

Byline: SUE DOYLE Staff Writer

WEST HILLS -- A San Fernando Valley man worked as a spy for Saddam Hussein's former regime, gathering information in the United States for the Iraqi Intelligence Service in exchange for cash and whiskey, authorities said Wednesday.

Code-named ``9211,'' William Shaoul Benjamin, 64, who used six aliases, was indicted by a federal grand jury for failing to register as an agent of a foreign government. He also faces charges of conspiracy and making false statements, the FBI said. He was arrested Sept. 14.

Benjamin, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, is home on $500,000 bail, wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet. He declined to comment, referring calls to his Encino-based attorney, James Edward Blatt, who did not return calls.

Benjamin lives in a modest, two-story white house in the 22100 block of Parthenia Street -- a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood with well-groomed yards. The FBI did not say whether Benjamin had another occupation.

His role for the Iraqi Intelligence Service was to monitor U.S. organizations considered hostile to Saddam's former regime and then pass on information about groups and their members, according to a nine-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors allege that Benjamin traveled to Iraq for Iraqi Intelligence Service training, and from at least July 1993 to Sept. 3, 2001, he communicated with Iraqi intelligence officers, who called him by his code name and told him what to do.

The indictment alleges that Iraqi Intelligence Service officers paid him at least $8,500 in cash, some for travel back and forth from America to Iraq, which occurred at least three times. He also received two bottles of whiskey for his efforts, it said.

Besides failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, Benjamin is accused of falsely declaring under oath that he had renounced allegiance to Iraq. And on his application for American citizenship -- he is a naturalized citizen -- he failed to mention his work for the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

Hussein's government was toppled in 2003 when the United States and a number of its allies invaded Iraq.

Benjamin's trial is set to begin Nov. 7. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

sue.doyle(at)dailynews.com

(818) 713-3746
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 21, 2006
Words:377
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