A State Department employee was indicted yesterday on charges that he threatened and intimidated employees of the Arab American Institute, including James Zogby, the president of the organization.
In e-mail and voice-mail messages, the employee, Patrick Syring, is said to have lashed out at Zogby and others in profane, provocative language described in the indictment, which was returned by a grand jury at the federal courthouse in Washington.
"The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese. The only good Arab is a dead Arab," Syring said in a voice-mail message left late July 17, 2006, after he read comments made by Zogby that he regarded as offensive, the indictment says.
Syring appears to have worked in the Middle East at points in his career, but he is stationed in Washington. He works in human resources and career development, according to a State Department directory.
The messages were left last summer during the war between Israel and Hezbollah. More than once, Syring praises Israel and its armed forces and accuses Zogby and his organization of being part of Hezbollah.
"You and your Arab American Institute . . . should burn in the fires of hell for eternity," he wrote in an e-mail, according to the indictment.