Africa

Manhattan, New York’s Pierre Girgis spied on critics of Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi?

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Pierre Girgis, 39, of Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States was arrested on January 6, 2022. He is accused of tracking and obtaining information regarding political opponents of Egypt’s incumbent and sixth president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, 67, who assumed office on June 8, 2014.

Girgis was charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general and acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general. On March 11, 2021, Merrick Garland, 69, assumed office as the 86th U.S. attorney general.

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Using an encrypted messaging application, Girgis allegedly discussed his status as an agent of the Egyptian government with an Egyptian official on or about May 7, 2018, During the conversation, the official expressed frustration that Girgis had met with personnel from a different Egyptian government agency during a recent trip by Girgis to Egypt.

In the course of Girgis’s continuing operations as an Egyptian agent, he and the Egyptian official discussed via a telephone conversation on or about March 8, 2019 an upcoming trip of certain Egyptian officials to the U.S. The official asked him to find out if there are any police trainings happening in Manhattan at the time.

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On November 1, 2021, Matthew Glen Olsen, 59, assumed office as the U.S. assistant attorney for the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. According to him, the department will not allow agents of foreign governments to operate in the U.S. to pursue and collect information about critics of those governments.

“Working at the direction of the Egyptian government, Girgis agreed to target its perceived critics located in the United States,” Olsen stated. “This indictment begins the process of holding him accountable for his actions in contravention of our laws and values.”

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