The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on a diplomat working at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, DC who started working with the US government to issue passports for foes of President Bashar al-Assad.
It appears that a Syria analyst at a Washington think tank was instrumental in alerting the US government to a potential "friend" within that foreign embassy. Here is more:
Bassam Barabandi [of the Syrian embassy] started to work with Andrew Tabler, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank. Meeting at a restaurant in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in August 2011, Mr. Barabandi said the Syrian ambassador was investigating Assad opponents in Washington, according to Mr. Tabler, who alerted his contacts in the U.S. government.
The article notes that during his stay in Washington, DC, Mr. Barabandi "made friends in Congress and at think tanks."
Andrew Tabler is a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where he focuses on Syria and US policy in the Levant. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria's first private-sector English-language magazine.