WATERTOWN, MA – A criminal complaint released by the Department of Justice details the arrest of a 63-year-old political scientist and author as being charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the Iranian government while residing in Massachusetts.
Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi (his site says he has taught at BostonU, BentleyU, & University of Tehran & says he'd been visiting scholar at Harvard & UC Berkeley) charged as unregistered agent of Iranian regime in violation of Foreign Agents Registration Act.https://t.co/UCvfIsB3Tv
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) January 19, 2021
According to officials, Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi was allegedly being compensated by the Iranian government for several years, in an effort to essentially lobby for ideas and endeavors that behooved Iran with U.S. officials and those in Congress.
William F. Sweeney, who functions as the FBI Assistant Director in Charge, was among those who unveiled the charges against the suspect:
“Mr. Afrasiabi never disclosed to a congressman, journalists or others who hold roles of influence in our country that he was being paid by the Iranian government to paint an untruthfully positive picture of the nation.”
From what the criminal complaint alleges, Afrasiabi is a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran but is also lawfully admitted for permanent residence within the United States.
Background on some of his endeavors here stateside show that he holds a PhD, that he would frequently write books and articles that would appear in U.S. based television programs – which these books, articles, and appearances on television were typically all revolving around Iranian relations with the United States.
Further review of the charging documents alleges that since at least 2007 up until the time of his arrest, Afrasiabi was allegedly employed by the Iranian government and wound up receiving funds from Iranian diplomats that were associated with the Permanent Mission of the IMUN.
Investigators say that they were able to trace at least $265,000 in checks that were drawn from the IMUN’s bank account since 2007 and that the suspect had also allegedly received health insurance through IMUN’s employee benefits plan since 2011.
“Our arrest of Kaveh Afrasiabi makes it clear that the United States is not going to allow undeclared agents of Iran to operate in our country unchecked,” FBI Special Agent In Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said.https://t.co/Wyv1BjwZEy
— Justice in the News (@JMUJUST) January 20, 2021
While allegedly being under the employment of the Iranian government, the suspect was also said to have lobbied a U.S. congressman and the U.S. Department of State in an effort to advocate for policies that would behoove Iran. However, the press release from the DOJ did not expand upon who this particular US congressman was.
Throughout his time here in the United States, the suspect essentially portrayed himself as an expert on foreign affairs, especially with regard to Iran.
However, the biggest caveat associated with Afrasiabi’s endeavors, according to officials, is that throughout his portrayal of being an expert on foreign affairs with regard to Iran he attempted to portray himself as a neutral subject matter expert.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Seth D. DuCharme, chimed in on that notion of how Afrasiabi portrayed himself versus what was allegedly motivating him behind the scenes:
“Afrasiabi allegedly sought to influence the American public and American policymakers for the benefit of his employer, the Iranian government, by disguising propaganda as objective policy analysis and expertise.”
Based upon the actions that the suspect allegedly engaged in while in the United States in concurrence with the compensation he had received from the Iranian government, these combined allegations would serve as a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act – commonly abbreviated as FARA.
When commenting on the case, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers stated the following:
“For over a decade, Kaveh Afrasiabi pitched himself to Congress, journalists, and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran. However, all the while, Afrasiabi was actually a secret employee of the Government of Iran and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations who was being paid to spread their propaganda.”
“In doing so, he intentionally avoided registering with the Department of Justice as the Foreign Agents Registration Act required. He likewise evaded his obligation to disclose who was sponsoring his views. We now begin to hold him responsible for those deeds.”
Based upon the charges levied against the suspect, Afrasiabi could be facing up to 10 years in a federal prison.
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Back in December, we at Law Enforcement Today brought forth a story that involved allegations of of a Chinese spy trying to cozy up to up-and-coming politicians stateside.
Here’s that previous report.
TEXAS – We at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on the unveiled controversy revolving around Rep. Eric Swalwell was reportedly involved with a suspected Chinese spy some years back.
While the controversy surrounding that matter is a story all on it’s own (more on that below), Senator Ted Cruz seemingly couldn’t help himself from making a bit of a pun regarding the debacle.
And by pun, Senator Cruz decided to speculate on the nature of the Communist Chinese spy and Swalwell’s intermingling:
“More than once, I’ve said “screw the Chinese communists.” Little did I know how closely Swalwell was listening.”
More than once, I’ve said “screw the Chinese communists.”
Little did I know how closely Swalwell was listening.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 10, 2020
Now, in the interest of reporting verifiable facts, it is unclear whether Swalwell was involved romantically with the alleged espionage operative known as Christine Fang.
But, what can be said is that Swalwell’s own camp admitted that he and Fang knew each other since around 2012 – before he ever held public office. Fang even helped raise funds for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection efforts.
And Fang even had helped place one intern into Swalwell’s office and mingled with the Representative up until around 2015.
Plus, pictures of Fang show that she wasn’t exactly unattractive by conventional standards – in fact, most would likely agree that she’d rather easy on the eyes.
And Swalwell didn’t get married to his current wife until 2016, after the FBI informed him of their concerns over Fang.
From there, one would have to speculate on what an attractive young woman – with an alleged agenda for the CCP to gather intel – and a young man might do when harboring said entanglements.
But with Cruz’s joking speculation came some criticism, which is not all that surprising.
One commenter responded to Cruz’s post, writing:
“You sound more and more like Trump every day. To think I used to be so naïve as to believe you were one of the classier ones. You were right when you said he was evil, and now you’re acting just like him, maybe even worse.”
Jokes aside, Swalwell managed to be entangled with Fang before he got into office, let her raise funds for him in 2014 and took in a staffer she suggested – all before he got married in 2016. I'm pretty dang sure he was tapping it as well, let's be adults and cognizant here.
— Greg Hoyt (@GregHoytLET) December 12, 2020
To which a particular writer from LET responded with:
“Jokes aside, Swalwell managed to be entangled with Fang before he got into office, let her raise funds for him in 2014 and took in a staffer she suggested – all before he got married in 2016. I’m pretty dang sure he was tapping it as well, let’s be adults and cognizant here.”
As for Swalwell, he recently hinted at The White House possibly airing out his proverbial dirty laundry from years back.
The reason being is that he noted he’s been a vocal critic of President Trump when responding to the criticism over the essentially hushed debacle:
“I’ve been a critic of the president. I’ve spoken out against him. I was on both committees that worked to impeach him. The timing feels like that should be looked at.”
But the timeline is a little skewed, as Swalwell has been critical of Trump far before the failed impeachment. In fact, he even appeared on MSNBC nearly two years ago accusing of President Trump’s son meeting with a “Russian spy”.
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) January 9, 2019
One cannot but help notice the irony in those accusation, as Swalwell knew at the time of that interview that he’d courted in some fashion or another a literal Chinese spy for years.
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