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State Dept. official facing charges for sending anti-Arab messages is indicted
Asia Times
August 17, 2007

A State Department diplomat charged this week for sending anti-Arab messages will retire later this month, a department spokeswoman said today.

Patrick Syring, a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, was indicted Wednesday by federal prosecutors for sending threatening e-mail and voice mail messages to the Arab American Institute, a group based in Washington, D.C., that has a Michigan office in Dearborn.

"This is Patrick Syring," he said on one voice mail left on July 17, 2006, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese. The only good Arab is a dead Arab…Death to Lebanon and death to the Arabs."

According to the indictment, Syring then later sent an e-mail to the institute that read, "The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese" and "(expletive) the Arabs and (expletive) James Zogby," the president of the Arab American Institute.

Syring sent other e-mails to Institute employees, including one on July 19th that read, "the only good Arab is a dead Arab," according to the indictment.

He was transferred to Beirut, Lebanon, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, according to a December 1998 issue of a department publication, State Magazine, that is posted on the department's Web site.

Syring "had already submitted his retirement paperwork prior to the indictment," State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said. Syring's retirement date is effective August 31, Moore said.

He was charged with violating the civil rights of Institute employees and for sending threatening communication in interstate commerce.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Thursday that Secretary Condoleezza Rice is serious about not tolerating "discrimination or hateful language" in the workplace at the State Dept., according to Moore.

"It is just not condoned or acceptable in this department," McCormack said.

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