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How Foreign Spies Tap Into U.S. Police Departments

The author is editor-in-chief of SpyTalk

By Jeff Stein

The arrest in New York last week of an Egyptian-American accused of spying on exiles opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s repressive regime has lifted the curtain on a “significant” but little noted national security issue: the recruitment of U.S. state and local police by foreign intelligence agencies. 

Pierre Girgis, a dual Egyptian-U.S. citizen in Manhattan, worked at the “direction and control” of several Cairo agencies to advance the regime’s interests in the United States from 2014 through 2019, according to a federal indictment handed down Jan. 6.

Girgis, a Capital One bank vice president who openly promoted interchanges between Egyptian officials and American police, had a secret helper, according to the Justice Department:  a source in local law enforcement. FBI wiretaps overheard Girgis and Egyptian officials talking about exploiting the (unnamed) police officer for private information on anti-regime activists here. 

The Girgis case is hardly atypical, law enforcement sources say. The full number and disposition of such cases in recent years was not readily available from the Justice Department, but according to former FBI counterintelligence chief Frank Figliuzzi and other former national security officials, efforts by foreign spy agencies to recruit U.S. state and local police is a persistent problem.

“Certain foreign intelligence services consistently seek to recruit American police officers for their access to non-public information” which helps them track down dissidents here, Figliuzzi told SpyTalk. “This continues to be a significant concern.” 

To read the full story click here.


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