Abraham T. Lemma, a 50-year-old U.S. government contractor, has been arrested for allegedly spying for Ethiopia, a case that stands out amidst recent espionage cases predominantly linked to China. The incident casts a spotlight on the intricate U.S.-Ethiopia relations, emphasizing the delicate balance in a partnership amidst Ethiopia’s internal challenges and the broader geopolitical influences of Russia and China in the region.
Abraham T. Lemma, a 50-year-old contractor for the U.S. government, has been arrested on charges of spying for Ethiopia. The arrest was confirmed by several U.S. officials. Lemma worked part-time as a systems analyst for the State Department since 2019. The case remains sealed but could become public soon. His connection to Ethiopia, a significant recipient of U.S. aid, is seen as unusual.
Recent espionage cases in the U.S. largely involved China’s efforts to infiltrate American entities. This includes stealing trade secrets and recruiting spies. Last month, two U.S. Navy members were charged with spying for China. The specifics of Lemma’s case remain unclear, including the nature of the sensitive information he might have obtained for Ethiopia, a country that has maintained a longstanding partnership with the U.S.
The U.S. has a history of extensive surveillance, both domestically and internationally. This includes monitoring friendly nations, a practice brought to light by leaks from individuals such as Jack Teixeira and Edward Snowden. These leaks revealed the depth of U.S. spy agencies’ reach, showcasing a network that scoops up communications globally. The recent arrest highlights the ongoing espionage activities involving individuals connected to the U.S. government.
Ethiopia, located in the strategically important Horn of Africa, grapples with numerous challenges including drought and political unrest. Despite the turmoil, the U.S. has fostered ties with Ethiopia, providing over $3 billion in aid since 2020. The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, visited Ethiopia this year to strengthen bilateral relations amidst the growing influence of Russia and China in the region. The arrest of Lemma puts a spotlight on the complex dynamics of the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship.