Impersonating U.S. Intelligence Official, Oregon Man Wrote to Iraqi Prime Minister

The former Iraqi interpreter was sentenced to two years of probation after he forged an official document.

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 4:23 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 4:33 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Beaverton man has been sentenced to two years of probation after forging an official document in which he claimed to be a fictional U.S. intelligence officer and attempted to influence the Prime Minister of Iraq, according to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ).

Authorities say that in November of 2015, 34-year-old Wathiq Al-Ibraheemi forged a letter using the official insignia of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Addressing the letter to Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Al-Ibraheemi pretended to be an intelligence official named William J. Peterson.

In the letter, Al-Ibraheemi encouraged the Iraqi Prime Minister to replace the director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service. "Peterson" ranked as the Middle East Section Chief of ODNI's Office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration, according to the DOJ.

The Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community was able to confirm for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the letter was a fraud.

According to the DOJ, Al-Ibraheemi was an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq, after which he immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Beaverton. His immigration in 2009 came as part of the Significant Public Benefit Parole Program—which allows asylum in the U.S. for foreign citizens who give considerable help to U.S. forces—and was sponsored by a U.S. Army officer with whom he had served in Iraq.

After moving to Beaverton in 2012, Al-Ibraheemi enrolled as an engineering student at Portland State University.

Zuhair al-Gharbawi—the director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service in 2015, and a holdover from the previous administration—was replaced by Prime Minister al-Abadi in June of 2016, according to PressTV. Mustafa Kadhimi was appointed as the new director.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Craig Gabriel, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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