Susan Lindauer, 41, shouts to the media Thursday as she is escorted by law enforcement agents outside the Baltimore FBI office.
updated 3/15/2004 5:34:14 PM ET 2004-03-15T22:34:14

A former journalist and congressional aide pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that she was a paid Iraqi intelligence agent, defending her anti-war efforts as “always good for homeland security.”

The woman, Susan Lindauer, 41, emerged from U.S. District Court in Manhattan blaming President Bush for her troubles, saying the president would rather see her testify in court than before commissions investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.

“I am incredibly proud of my work,” Lindauer said after entering the plea to allegations that she conspired to act as an unregistered agent of the Iraqi Intelligence Service and engaged in prohibited financial transactions with the Iraqi government.

“I have actively contributed to peace-building efforts and conflict resolution in the Middle East for many years,” said Lindauer, a distant cousin of Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff.

FBI meeting with Iraqi official
Prosecutors allege that Lindauer accepted $10,000 from the Iraqi government and plotted to aid resistance groups loyal to President Saddam Hussein.

Lindauer said she persuaded Iraqi authorities before the United States invaded Iraq to let the FBI interview an official in Baghdad about an alleged meeting between a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker and an Iraqi agent in Prague.

“Iraq agreed to do that interview. President Bush refused to send the FBI. And here I am today,” she said.

She added, “I want to say to Americans that what I did was always, always good for homeland security and Middle East security.”

The U.S. attorney’s office would not comment.

Lindauer was arrested Thursday in Takoma Park, Md., a suburb of Washington, on charges that carry a potential prison term of 25 years.

Her father, John Lindauer, the Republican nominee for governor of Alaska in 1998, defended his daughter outside court. “This is an attempt to silence political dissent for election purposes,” he said. “I think it is disgraceful.”

He said he remained a Republican, “but I’m reconsidering who to vote for in this election.”

Lindauer was also accused of delivering a letter “to the home of a United States government official” on Jan. 8, 2003, in which she described her access to members of Saddam’s regime “in an unsuccessful attempt to influence United States policy.”

The U.S. official was not identified, but a government official said Card was the recipient of the letter.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said last week that Card did not recall seeing or talking to Lindauer since the January 2001 inaugural events.

Lindauer worked at Fortune, U.S. News & World Report, The Herald of Everett, Wash., and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before working in the offices of several members of Congress.

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