- FBI SEIZES COMPUTER FROM AIPAC OFFICES
Janine Zacharia, Jerusalem Post, 9/1/04
FBI agents on Friday copied the computer hard drive of a senior
staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who has been
questioned in relation to the case of a Pentagon official suspected
of turning over a classified document either directly to Israel, or
via the pro-Israel lobby group.
Sources in Washington said the hard drive was that of Steve Rosen,
AIPAC's director of foreign policy issues.
It was not clear if FBI agents also seized other materials from
Rosen's office. AIPAC says it is cooperating fully with the FBI's
Government lawyers, according to Tuesday's New York Times, are
preparing to make the first arrests in the case by issuing a
criminal complaint against one or more figures who are said to be
involved. The case is being handled by federal prosecutors in
But experts suggested that the rush to file a complaint could be a
sign that the charge will be less severe than that of espionage, as
was originally reported.
"The fact that they're going to file a complaint instead of an
indictment is an indication of the weakness of their case," said one
criminal defense expert. A criminal complaint would allow the
government to proceed with arrests more quickly.
AIPAC and Israel have denied any wrongdoing in a case that has
become increasingly muddled since CBS News reported on Friday that
the FBI was about to arrest an Israeli mole in the Pentagon.
Investigators suspect that a mid-level Pentagon staffer, Larry
Franklin, provided either AIPAC or Israel with a secret draft of an
internal planning document on US policy toward Iran.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of
Defense Douglas Feith have been briefed on the case, as have
officials at the White House, State Department, and congressional
Congressional leaders continued on Tuesday to rally around AIPAC,
whose image, many in the pro-Israel community fear, has been
tarnished by accusations of wrongdoing.
"AIPAC has worked hard to build its credibility with members of
Congress on both sides of the aisle," House Majority Whip Roy Blunt
of Missouri said. "While the House will want to look carefully at
any allegations that might endanger our national security, it will
begin that look with a record of great confidence in our
relationship with AIPAC and our strongest ally and the only
democracy in the Middle East, Israel."
The House Democratic Whip, Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) also expressed
confidence in AIPAC. "I have worked with AIPAC for many years. They
are a very successful, strong, and committed organization and do a
tremendous job advocating for the important US-Israel relationship."
Despite those voices of confidence, some in Washington said they
expected that US officials would be reluctant to meet with AIPAC
staffers, at least in the immediate short-term, now that there is a
suspicion that AIPAC is being monitored by the FBI.
"The biggest implication, is that mid-level officials will not be
meeting with AIPAC. They don't want to be seen with them," said one
SPY PROBE SCANS NEO CON-ISRAEL TIES
Jim Lobe, IPS, 8/31/04
SEATTLE - The burgeoning scandal over claims that a Pentagon
official passed highly classified secrets to a Zionist lobby group
appears to be part of a much broader set of FBI and Pentagon
investigations of close collaboration between prominent U.S. neo-
conservatives and Israel dating back some 30 years.
According to knowledgeable sources, who asked to not be identified,
the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has been intensively
reviewing a series of past counter-intelligence probes that were
started against several high-profile neo-cons but never followed up
with prosecutions, to the great frustration of counter-intelligence
officers, in some cases.
Some of these past investigations involve top current officials,
including Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary
of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith, whose office appears to be the
focus of the most recently disclosed inquiry; and Richard Perle, who
resigned as Defence Policy Board (DPB) chairman last year.
All three were the subject of a lengthy investigative story by
Stephen Green published by 'Counterpunch' in February. Green is the
author of two books on U.S.-Israeli relations, including 'Taking
Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel', which
relies heavily on interviews with former Pentagon and counter-
At the same time, another Pentagon office concerned with the
transfer of sensitive military and dual-use technologies has been
examining the acquisition, modification and sales of key hi-tech
military equipment by Israel obtained from the United States, in
some cases with the help of prominent neo-conservatives who were
then serving in the government.
Some of that equipment has been sold by Israel -- which in the last
20 years has become a top exporter of the world's most sophisticated
hi-tech information and weapons technology -- or by Israeli
middlemen, to Russia, China and other potential U.S. strategic
rivals. Some of it has also found its way onto the black market,
where terrorist groups -- possibly including al-Qaeda -- obtained
bootlegged copies, according to these sources.
Of particular interest in that connection are derivatives of a
powerful case-management software called PROMIS that was produced by
INSLAW, Inc in the early 1980s and acquired by Israel's Mossad
intelligence agency, which then sold its own versions to other
foreign intelligence agencies in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern
But these versions were modified with a "trap door" that permitted
the seller to spy on the buyers' own intelligence files, according
to a number of published reports...
U.S. SPY PROBE FOCUSES ON TWO LOBBYISTS
Curt Anderson, Associated Press, 9/1/04
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two employees of the main pro-Israeli lobbying
group are the focus of an FBI investigation into whether a Pentagon
employee provided them with classified material about Iran that was
passed on to Israel.
U.S. government officials, speaking Wednesday on condition of
anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, confirmed the
identities of the two American Israel Public Affairs Committee
employees as director of foreign policy issues Steven Rosen and
Keith Weissman, an Iran expert.
The FBI interviewed both men on Friday, the same day that news first
surfaced about the investigation of the Defense Department analyst,
Larry Franklin. Franklin works on issues involving Iran and the
Middle East in the office of Defense Department policy
undersecretary Douglas Feith.
No charges have been brought or arrests made in the case. Law
enforcement officials have said prosecutors are weighing whether to
charge anyone involved with the most serious offense of espionage or
with lesser counts of mishandling classified documents.
AIPAC attorney Nathan Lewin did not immediately return a telephone
call Wednesday about the FBI interviews with the group's two
employees. AIPAC officials have said they are cooperating in the
probe and have denied any wrongdoing, as has the Israeli government.
Franklin has not responded to several telephone calls seeking
The FBI and Justice Department have briefed a number of high-level
Pentagon, congressional and White House officials about the
Secretary of State Colin Powell was briefed Sunday over the
telephone by Deputy Attorney General James Comey, a State Department
AIPAC Spy Case Update
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel, who reported a week ago that the FBI
investigation of Lawrence Franklin was part of a much larger probe
of the pro-Likud Neocon clique in Washington (he didn't put it
exactly like that) is increasingly being vindicated as the papers of
record pick up the story. The Washington Post reported that the leak
of intelligence information to Ahmad Chalabi is part of the
investigation. Chalabi somehow found out that the US had cracked
Iranian communications codes, and passed the information on to Iran,
profoundly damaging the ability of the US to monitor Iran's (largely
peaced) nuclear program. The Washington Post also reveals that the
investigation extends to David Wurmser, who wants to overthrow the
governments of Syria and Iran, and now works for Dick "Kindly
Grandpa" Cheney. The Post also reveals that Michigan Congressman
John Conyers is very concerned that the investigation has been taken
over by a Republican political appointee and may get buried as a
It turns out that Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley were informed of the
investigation already in 2001, which raises real questions about
what action AIPAC officials took to spark it in the first place
(most of the details so far leaked concern issues that arose in 2002
and 2003). Stephen Hadley is very tight with the Neocons, and if he
knew about the investigation, you wonder whether he could have kept
it to himself. On the other hand, maybe the FBI deliberately told
some people, to see if they then showed up in the electronic
Jason Vest and Laura Rozen reveal that Vermont politician Stephen
Green, who has written two books critical of the US-Israeli
relationship that covered past spying cases involving AIPAC that
were somehow dropped, was interviewed by the FBI, which was clearly
looking into whether those investigations should have been dropped.
So far the press has not much looked into the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK
or MKO) angle, which I think might be quite important to the whole
The politics of the investigation of AIPAC within the FBI would be
fascinating to know more about. There have been suspicions that post-
9/11, the FBI has been worried about being penetrated by the Israeli
intelligence and military, because it now needs the expertise of
Arabists, and one recruiting pool for Arabists is Sephardic Jews
from, or who are close to, Israel.
As it is, pro-Israeli figures like the Phalangist-related Walid
Phares have played a sinister behind-the-scenes role in trying to
railroad Arab-Americans like the four defendants in the Detroit
case, which has now had to be dropped because of overwhelming
evidence of their innocence and of prosecutorial malfeasance. The
FBI should investigate how Pharis, an undistinguished academic with
links to far rightwing Lebanese groups and the Likud clique, became
the "terrorism analyst" at MSNBC.
FBI director Robert Mueller, whose resume is extremely professional,
may just think like a prosecutor and mind his country being made a
posted by Juan @ 9/4/2004 04:25:50 PM
An expert on U.S.Israeli relations reveals details from his recent
visit with the FBI.
By Jason Vest and Laura Rozen
In May, Stephen Green was hard at work campaigning for a seat in
Vermont's House of Representatives when he got a phone call. The
last person the 64-year-old former United Nations official, then
preoccupied with health-care policy issues, expected to hear from
was an FBI agent, who asked if he could come to Washington to chat
with him about the history of Israeli espionage efforts against the
As the author of two books on U.S.-Israeli relations, Green knew
something about the subject. Still, the phone call seemed to come
out of the blue. Green quickly discovered, however, that the FBI had
a keen interest in the subject. Federal agents were involved in an
investigation into an alleged Israeli "mole" in the office of
Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy.
Early reports suggested that the FBI had wiretap evidence that a
veteran Iran analyst working in Feith's office at the Defense
Intelligence Agency, Larry Franklin, may have passed a classified
draft of a National Security Presidential Directive on Iran to an
official working for the pro-Israel lobbying organization, the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Members of the
organization, in turn, were said to have passed the document on to
Israel. (AIPAC officials strongly deny the accusations.)
But as Green spoke with investigators, he realized the agents were
investigating far more than Franklin.
"Larry Franklin's name never came up, but several others did," he
Green, as the FBI agents knew, had a special expertise in the field
of Israeli espionage in the United States. In the 1980s, he had
taken time off from his job at the UN to look into the U.S.
Israeli "special relationship." He spent years combing through
public records, filing and litigating Freedom of Information Act
requests, and tracking down current and retired government
officials. He eventually wrote two books, Taking Sides: America's
Secret Relations With Israel and Living By The Sword: America and
Israel in the Middle East. The Times of London and Foreign Affairs
commended his work, describing it as "praised by those who believe
the United States has damaged its own security, and Israel's too, by
uncritical and often secret support of Israel's actions, no matter
how extreme." Yet, as Foreign Affairs reported, Green's work also
caused "sputter[ing] with indignation" among "those who believe
that American and Israeli interests are identical."
Green returned to the UN in 1990 and followed the subject from
there. Earlier this year, he published a piece in the newsletter
CounterPunch, recapping previously reported -- though long-
forgotten -- government investigations of prominent neoconservatives
for their suspected espionage or improper information-sharing with
Israel. And that's where the FBI comes in.
According to the FBI agents who contacted Green, as he recounts, the
article had come to their attention when one of Green's sources -- a
retired national security official they were interviewing -- shared
it with them.
And so on June 22, Green found himself sitting across an oval-shaped
conference table from two FBI agents at an undisclosed northern
Virginia venue. The meeting lasted nearly four hours.
"They were extraordinarily well-informed; it was apparent they've
been at this for awhile," Green says. "I asked them if there was a
current reason for them asking questions about things that go back
over 30 years, and they sort of looked at each other and said, 'Yes,
it's a present issue,' but wouldn't say specifically what. Though
they did ask very specific questions about one individual in
Green said the agents asked about several current or former Pentagon
officials such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith,
Michael Ledeen, and Stephen Bryen.
"The tenor of their questions was such that it defined where these
people were in terms of the nature of their focus," Green
says. "They also asked about a couple other Office of Special Plans
people, including Harold Rhode. Ironically, about the only name that
didn't come up was Larry Franklin."
Regardless of the status of the investigation, something seemed a
bit fishy. After all, Israel -- one of the United States' closest
allies, with deep support in the Bush Administration and especially
at the Defense Department -- hardly needs a Pentagon-embedded spy to
get access to interagency debates about U.S. policy to Iran, as
observers have pointed out. And compared with the information on
arms shipments that former US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard passed
on to Israel in the 1980s, a draft of a document about U.S. policy
toward Iran would hardly seem like the crown jewels.
Yet, as Newsweek has reported, Franklin had come to the FBI's
attention a year and a half ago, when he walked in on a lunch with
an Israeli diplomat and an AIPAC lobbyist, both of whom were under
FBI surveillance for a year. In addition, Newsweek reported that
when news of the investigation surfaced, Franklin had already been
cooperating with the FBI for several weeks and had reportedly led
FBI agents to those who may have received information from him.
The previous FBI investigation came into focus only on September 1,
when The Washington Post reported that for two years, the FBI has
conducted a counterintelligence investigation into whether AIPAC has
forwarded "highly classified materials from the National Security
Agency . . . to Israel." The Post piece describes Franklin's alleged
role as merely "coincidental" to the larger FBI probe of alleged
intelligence-passing through AIPAC to Israel.
Both AIPAC and Tel Aviv vehemently deny any wrongdoing. And indeed,
the Israeli diplomat who acknowledges meeting with Franklin and
AIPAC -- Naor Gilon, the Israeli embassy's No. 3 official and a
specialist on Iran's nuclear program -- returned to Washington on
August 29 from a summer vacation in Israel. He admits that he met
with Franklin, but insists he's done nothing wrong.
A source familiar with the investigation told The American Prospect
that when news of the investigation broke, the Justice Department
had been preparing a request to the State Department to have an
Israeli diplomat -- by implication Gilon -- declared persona non
grata for allegedly having received classified U.S. intelligence
from AIPAC sources.
Furthermore, a September 1 report by NBC speculated that the reason
the Israelis may have broken their declared post-Pollard policy of
not spying on the United States is because of Israel's preeminent
concern about Iran's nuclear program, and its view that the United
States may not be prepared to act assertively enough to prevent Iran
from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The Post piece seems to imply that Franklin is more of an anti-
Tehran zealot than anything else and wasn't engaging in espionage
per se. But as the Post article and the June meeting between Green
and the FBI seem to indicate, the FBI is looking into the
possibility there's been communication between Israeli elements and
U.S. officials, including several who work for Feith and have access
to sensitive intelligence on Iran and its nuclear program.
Jason Vest is Prospect senior correspondent. Laura Rozen reports on
national security issues from Washington, D.C. and for her weblog,
War and Piece.
Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc
Leaks derail FBI's Israeli spy probe:
"Investigators were watching the activities of a few people and now
they know they're being watched. It has become a nightmare."
In case you missed it:
President Speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee :
(May 18, 2004)
Our nation is stronger and safer because we have a true and
dependable ally in Israel. (Applause.)
Audio and Text.
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