Report: Syrian Foreign Ministry Defector in DC, Aiding US

Major Public Figure, But Top Spokesman's Policy Role Seen Limited

by Jason Ditz, December 25, 2012

With reports that he had defected into Lebanon to stay in the British Embassy revealed as untrue, a credible report has now placed former Syrian government spokesman Jihad Makdissi in Washington DC, working for the Obama Administration.

Makdissi, who was the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, is said to have fled with US aid, and is helping US spy agencies gather intelligence on the ongoing civil war, in return for asylum. US officials have declined comment so far.

Makdissi is perhaps the highest ranking foreign official to have turned up directly in a foreign government’s custody after defection, but despite being a very high-profile figure as a spokesman, his policy role is seen as fairly limited, and his knowledge of secret information unclear at best.

How he managed to get to the US remains a mystery, though he was rumored to have spent some time with relatives in Lebanon. Britain has denied any role in his flight.

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