I can't give you facts and figures about Syrian intelligence but at best guess I would say that it was post Kuwait invasion by Iraq.
Iraq would certainly fit the modus operandi of arms procurement if we take Germany as an example post WW1. Huge sanctions were placed on Germany and it was widely believed that they would not have the ability to re-arm but they found various means and re-armed very effectively.
Syria was conducting extensive talks with the UK prior to the coalision invasion of Iraq and I believe President Bashar al-Assad still has a great desire to move his country to a more democratic footing, obviously he faces much opposition made all the more difficult under current circumstances but it is my belief that Syrian intelligence had reason to be very concerned about any possible Iraqi ambitions towards greater leverage in the ME.
Regarding domestic wire taps, it is my opinion that the executive did not apply for a warrant from FISA therefore cutting out the judiciary and are in breach of the constitution.
Amendment IV to Bill of Rights
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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