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ZGram - December 7, 2004 - "AIPAC denies any wrongdoing"

zgrams at zgrams.zundelsite.org
Mon Dec 6 06:54:06 EST 2004

Zgram - Where Truth is destiny:  Now more than ever!

December 7, 2004

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

AIPAC crying "Hold the thief!", I guess:



AIPAC, the powerhouse pro-Israel lobby currently embroiled in 
allegations of spying for Israel, was set up by the FBI, The 
Jerusalem Post has learned.

FBI agents used a courier, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, to draw 
two senior AIPAC officials who already knew him into accepting what 
he described to them as "classified" information, reliable government 
and other sources intimately familiar with the investigation have 
told the Post.

One of the AIPAC pair then told diplomats at the Israeli Embassy in 
Washington about the "classified" information, which claimed Iranians 
were monitoring and planning to kidnap and kill Israelis operating in 
the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, the Post has been told.

It is unclear whether the "classified" information was real or bogus.

AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) denies any wrongdoing.

Knowingly transferring classified information to a foreign power can 
be a breach of US espionage statutes. Legal experts have told the 
Post that passing on bogus classified information may be used to 
demonstrate intent to violate the law but does not itself constitute 
a crime.

Franklin, an Iran expert, was already under investigation by the FBI 
for allegedly passing classified information to AIPAC when, the 
Post's sources say, FBI counterintelligence agents approached him to 
play a central role in the setup operation this past summer.

The FBI had been monitoring AIPAC's activities for some two years 
when, last year, its agents observed two AIPAC officials, Steve 
Rosen, director of foreign policy issues, and Keith Weissman, a 
senior Middle East analyst with the lobby, at a lunch meeting with 
Franklin in Washington.

At this lunch, it has been widely reported, Franklin allegedly 
briefed the AIPAC pair on the content of a draft national security 
presidential directive on Iran.

Details of the draft, which included proposed measures the US could 
employ to destabilize the Iranian regime, were already circulating at 
the time. According to some reports, an Israeli diplomat at the 
embassy in Washington, Naor Gilon, was also present at the lunch.

Earlier this year, the FBI informed Franklin that, as a consequence 
of the lunch meeting, he was under investigation. The Pentagon 
analyst, hoping for leniency, agreed to cooperate with FBI agents in 
what would become the setting up of AIPAC, a process designed to bust 
the lobby for passing secrets to Israel.

The FBI agents told Franklin to request a meeting with Rosen and 
Weissman. He initiated contact with the AIPAC pair, and told them 
that he needed to discuss a ticking-bomb situation.

Franklin was then dispatched to meet the two AIPAC officials and 
outline the alleged threat to Israelis in northern Iraq, the Post has 
been told.

Saying his access to the White House was limited, Franklin also 
expressed concern that the Bush administration was underestimating 
the extent to which Iranian agents were operating in Iraq and asked 
the AIPAC officials to stress this point in their meetings with US 

The agents' hope, plainly, was that the AIPAC pair would be so 
troubled by the apparent life-and-death content of the information 
from Franklin as to risk a breach of US espionage statutes and 
transfer what they believed to be classified material to a foreign 
power, Israel.

And that, the Post has been told, is precisely what happened.

Franklin, according to news reports, cooperated with the FBI until 
about two months ago. In early October, he abruptly stopped working 
with authorities, dropped his court-appointed attorney and sought the 
legal counsel of Plato Cacheris, a prominent Washington defense 
lawyer who has represented numerous accused spies.

"Obviously his was a bad deal," says one source familiar with 
Franklin's decision to stop cooperating with the bureau.

News of the initial Franklin-AIPAC lunch broke last summer: CBS led 
its August 27 Nightly News broadcast with a report of a "full-fledged 
espionage investigation under way," saying the FBI was about to "roll 
up" a suspected Israeli "mole" in the office of the secretary of 
defense in the Pentagon.

CBS reported that, using wiretaps, undercover surveillance and 
photography, the FBI had documented the passing of a classified 
presidential directive on Iran from the suspected mole to two people 
who work at AIPAC. Sources familiar with the matter, however, said no 
documents exchanged hands.

CBS's sensational allegation immediately conjured up memories of the 
Pollard affair, the 1985 arrest and subsequent conviction in 1987 and 
life imprisonment for espionage of US naval intelligence analyst 
Jonathan Pollard for passing classified information to Israel.

The investigation into Franklin and the AIPAC officials continued 
quietly, with little subsequent media coverage, in recent months. No 
indictments were issued and most reports scaled back the accusations 
against Franklin from alleged espionage to mishandling of classified 

But the investigation burst back into prominence last Wednesday, when 
FBI agents made their first visit to AIPAC's Capitol Hill offices 
since August. Armed with a warrant, the agents seized computer files 
related to Rosen and Weissman and issued subpoenas to four senior 
officials at the lobby, requesting that they appear before a grand 
jury later this month in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Agents had copied Rosen's computer hard drive during their previous visit.

The four subpoenaed officials, who are considered witnesses, not 
targets, of the investigation, are AIPAC Executive Director Howard 
Kohr, Managing Director Richard Fishman, Communications Director 
Renee Rothstein and Research Director Rafi Danziger.

A Washington criminal justice expert said Friday that the issuing of 
the subpoenas suggested the FBI was "getting ready to indict."

AIPAC has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

"AIPAC has done nothing wrong. Neither AIPAC nor any member of our 
staff has broken any law, nor has AIPAC or its employees ever 
received information they believed was secret or classified. We 
continue to cooperate fully with the governmental authorities and 
believe any court of law or grand jury will conclude that AIPAC 
employees have always acted legally, properly and appropriately," 
AIPAC said in a statement.

"Despite the false and baseless allegations that have been reported, 
AIPAC will not be distracted from our central mission of supporting 
America's interests in the Middle East and advocating for a strong 
relationship with Israel," the statement said.


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