View Full Version : The AIPAC Case - Redux

07-03-2009, 06:34 PM
The so-called AIPAC Case (http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/aipac/index.html), involved espionage charges against three persons: Larry Franklin, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. Franklin pleaded guilty in 2005; and would have testified if there had been a trial. There was none.

Following 4 years of lengthy pleadings (indexed and linked at the above url), the DoJ filed a May 1, 2009 motion to dismiss (http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/aipac/dismiss.pdf) the superseding indictment against Rosen and Weissman, which effectively terminated the case.

Larry Franklin is now talking through Jeff Stein (CQ Politics), who is an experienced reporter on the intelligence beat. There are three articles (with perhaps more to come):

Israel 'Spy Scandal' Figure Larry Franklin Breaks Silence (http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/spytalk/2009/07/israel-spy-scandal-figure-larr.html)

‘Secret’ Rome Meeting Recounted by AIPAC Spy Case Figure (http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=hsnews-000003158259&parm1=5&cpage=2) (5 pages)

AIPAC Spy Figure Larry Franklin Describes Mafia-Style Murder Threat (http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/spytalk/2009/07/aipac-spy-figure-larry-frankli.html)

The usual caveats apply. These articles are based on statements which may be motivated by self-interest; have not been subjected to cross-examination; and have been or may be disputed by other persons named in them.

John T. Fishel
07-03-2009, 08:28 PM
in the case, it does appear that the government overreached! I was reading the docs involving J. William Leonard who confirms everything I've known for 40 years about our classification system. My favorite story of overclassification is when my office published an article on "Ping Pong Diplomacy" drawn entirely from a CBS Morning News report that we classified on the grounds that the generals wouln't believe it if it were unclas!



07-03-2009, 11:13 PM
Israel 'Spy Scandal' Figure Larry Franklin Breaks Silence (http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/spytalk/2009/07/israel-spy-scandal-figure-larr.html)
According to this article Franklin gave the material to Rosen because he was “desperate in early 2003 to get his information about Iranian preparations to kill Americans in Iraq into the hands of a White House policy-maker”, and Rosen could do so. Franklin said he couldn’t give it to high level policy makers because "Again, I was just - even though I had access to Wolfowitz and could go up to his office, I was just a little guy."

However, in the ‘Secret Rome Meeting’ article Franklin states that Wolfowitz often called Franklin directly at home to discuss Iran matters. This suggests the relationship between Franklin and Wolfowitz had some degree of cordiality, and that Wolfowitz had some regard for Franklin’s professional opinion. Yet Franklin could not bring himself to directly pass along material which could potentially save American lives, to a person that respected his professional opinion and was on cordial enough terms to call him at his house. That doesn’t smell right to me.

07-03-2009, 11:41 PM
from JTF
My favorite story of overclassification is when my office published an article on "Ping Pong Diplomacy" drawn entirely from a CBS Morning News report that we classified on the grounds that the generals wouln't believe it if it were unclas!

Good for an evening chuckle.

This case was a mess for a number of reasons - none of which is of such general application that it justifies extensive dissection of it (at least for me). Based on the final result, Franklin also should have beat the rap if he had been hardcore. Golden rule: admit nothing, deny everything; but better yet, say nothing at all.

from Bourbon
Franklin said he couldn’t give it to high level policy makers because "Again, I was just - even though I had access to Wolfowitz and could go up to his office, I was just a little guy."

This also raised my red flag: note well and dig at this in cross-examination. Not a novel defense - I did what was questionable for love of country, etc.

What I found interesting is that Franklin does not confirm some speculation about what he might say, but didn't - e.g., no link to Niger yellow cake as one example. There was substantial coverage of this case, for example, by Jason Raimondo at Antiwar.com (http://antiwar.com/) (169 articles at that site by him and others).

10-24-2009, 07:01 PM
My Secret Plan to Overthrow the Mullahs (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/10/15/my_secret_plan_to_overthrow_the_mullahs), by Larry Franklin. Foreign Policy, November/December 2009.

10-24-2009, 10:47 PM
Astonishing article by an ex-DoD civilian
the Iran desk officer in the office of the secretary of defense

If the options presented to overthrow the Mullahs are true and I have selected one paragraph:
My plan was designed to shake the foundations of Iran's mullahcracy without resorting to military action. I urged the United States to recognize a government in exile, perhaps in a nearby Central Asian country with a Persian heritage (where is that?)

Then moving onto today
The United States could offer its unwavering support to the Iranian opposition, strengthening and broadening this newly reawakened movement by arming it with satellite phones, digital cameras, and GPS units. America could train a cadre of countersnipers to neutralize the regime's rooftop shooters, many of whom have fired into peaceful crowds of protesters.....U.S. action might well precipitate a massive crackdown, though such a move by the clerical-military junta could spark widespread resistance. At last, the great majority of Iranians who oppose tyranny might rebel.

No wonder many credit the success of Iranian regime's "handiwork" as having consistently beaten the USA / West - if this was the quality of the in-house advice.


10-25-2009, 03:56 AM
There was a pretty good, grade B fiction writer E. Howard Hunt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Howard_Hunt), who also had a semi-fictional career. Deja vu....

Where are you, Kim Roosevelt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Roosevelt,_Jr.), when we need you ..... :rolleyes:

Still, the comments to the FP article are kinda fun.

PS: David - "where ?" - why in the Hazarajat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazarajat) Shia area of Astan, of course. If you're going in for nation building, go for a twofer. :D

11-20-2010, 10:32 PM
Ex-AIPAC official got at least $670,000 from donors (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/11/ex-aipac_official_got_670000_from_private_donors.html ), by Jeff Stein. SpyTalk, 11/19/2010. (H/T (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/11/aipac-and-espionage.html): Sic Semper Tyrannis)

Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

“I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail. “Most instances of actual receipt are hard to document, because orally received information rarely comes with classified stamps on it nor records alerts that the information is classified.”

But Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] ... was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

Indeed, many of the dozen benefactors Rosen named, including entertainment mogul Haim Saban....

Background Clipping:

Lawmaker Is Said to Have Agreed to Aid Lobbyists (www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/us/politics/21harman.html), The New York Times, 21 April 2009.

The official with access to the transcripts said someone seeking help for the employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group, was recorded asking Ms. Harman, a longtime supporter of its efforts, to intervene with the Justice Department. She responded, the official recounted, by saying she would have more influence with a White House official she did not identify.

In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.

The Israel Lobby (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby), by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. The London Review of Books, Vol. 28 No. 6 · 23 March 2006.

Take the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on the Middle East was William Quandt, a former NSC official with a well-deserved reputation for even-handedness. Today, Brookings’s coverage is conducted through the Saban Center for Middle East Studies, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and ardent Zionist. The centre’s director is the ubiquitous Martin Indyk. What was once a non-partisan policy institute is now part of the pro-Israel chorus.