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US arrests man for spying on Sisi's political opponents

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Budapest, Hungary, on October 12, 2021. [ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Budapest, Hungary, on October 12, 2021. [ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images]

US authorities have arrested an Egyptian agent in New York for spying on political opponents of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the US Department of Justice announced on Thursday.

The Egyptian agent, a dual US-Egyptian citizen, was named Pierre Girgis, 39. He was charged with acting illegally as an unregistered agent of the Egyptian government.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said that acting on the instruction of Egyptian officials, Girgis: "Tracked and obtained information regarding political opponents of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi."

According to the statement, Girgis also made arrangements to visit Egyptian officials, including meetings with US law enforcement.

Encrypted messages between Girgis and Egyptian officials showed that he was in contact with more than one Egyptian agency for information collection between 2014 and 2019.

In 2017, Girgis's indictment stated that he sent information he obtained from the Egyptian government regarding an anti-Sisi activist and others to US law enforcement officers.

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The statement conveyed that Girgis was charged under a law dictating that it is illegal to represent a foreign government without first registering with the Department of Justice.

US Attorney Damian Williams shared in a statement that the department: "Will continue to strictly enforce foreign agent registration laws, which remain critically important to ensuring that our government is not secretly influenced by foreign governments."

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