As US Army veteran Eric Harroun awaits trial in Virginia for allegedly fighting alongside al-Qaeda supporters, the man’s father claims he was working for the CIA and was reporting back to the agency from Syria.
Harroun, a 30-year-old American from Phoenix, Arizona, has been charged by the US government for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely a rocket propelled grenade launcher) to conduct an attack against the Syrian government. The US Army veteran dubbed by media ‘Phoenix jihadist’ appeared in numerous videos alongside members of the al-Nusra Front, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization in December, but which has also been fighting alongside the Syrian opposition to take down the Assad regime. To date, 29 US-backed Syrian opposition groups have linked with al-Nusra, and have signed a petition calling for the support of the Islamist group that the White House believes is a branch of al-Qaeda.
According to FBI documents, Harroun traveled to Turkey last November and joined the fight led by the Free Syrian Army shortly thereafter. His father, Darryl Harroun, on Thursday told reporters that he doesn’t understand why the US government arrested his son, who he says was working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
He referred to his son as a ‘patriotic’ American who would never get involved with al-Qaeda, and claims he was gathering information for the US government.
“I know he was doing some work for the CIA over there,” the man’s father said. “I know for a fact that he was passing information onto the CIA.”
After seeing the documents regarding his son’s charges, Harroun told a CBS News reporter that it is all inaccurate and misleading and that the truth will eventually come out, since his son was simply gathering intelligence.
“About 99 percent of that stuff that you read on there is a bunch of bull,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any truth in any of this – he’s very patriotic”