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  • 22


     
    AIPAC, Espionage, and Legal Sabotage
    Opinion; Posted on: 2007-11-06 08:22:28 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Has the AIPAC spy trial been derailed?

    by Justin Raimondo

    CBS broke the story three years ago: a high-ranking Pentagon analyst had been caught handing over highly classified information to a foreign government sensitive intelligence about al-Qaeda, U.S. policy deliberations regarding Iran, and other top-secret information of particular interest to his two American handlers. The spy's native-born confederates, top officials of one of Washington's most powerful lobbying groups, passed America's most closely guarded secrets directly to foreign government officials in hurried meetings in empty restaurants, outside a train station, and over the phone, whispering their treason in some of Washington's darkest corners so as not to leave a paper trail of purloined documents.

    As clever as they were, however, these spymasters apparently outwitted themselves, because the FBI's counterintelligence unit was on to them from the very beginning: the two core members of the spy nest had been under surveillance for years, along with the foreign officials who operated out of their Washington embassy. The FBI had everything on tape, and they let the Pentagon mole weave enough rope to hang himself with until they moved in on him: confronted with his treason, the mole the Pentagon's top Iran analyst, working directly under then-undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith agreed to wear a wire to future meetings with his handlers. An extensive record of treason was documented, until indictments were issued and charges brought against all three. When the news first broke, it was a national scandal and then the story sank like a stone, for three solid years, while the extensive litigation surrounding the case played out.

    The analyst pled guilty to espionage and was sentenced to 13 years in prison and a substantial fine with time off for his cooperation in the future trial of his two ex-cohorts. The trial, as I've said, has been delayed for nearly three years and is scheduled to finally begin on Jan. 14. But I wouldn't count on that happening: the trial has been delayed on several occasions through the years, and recent developments augur ill for the speedy resolution of this case.

    You might think this is odd: after all, it seems like an open-and-shut case. With so much evidence accumulated by government prosecutors, one would think this would be a cakewalk. And it would be, if the recipient of this stolen intelligence weren't Israel. It would be, except the two key figures in this cloak and dagger episode were top officials of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington powerhouse whose former chief lobbyist once boasted to the New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg: "You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin."

    So said Steve Rosen, the spark plug behind AIPAC's legendary lobbying success the very same Steve Rosen indicted for espionage, along with his top Iran specialist, Keith Weissman, on Aug. 4, 2005, and whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2008.

    Rosen and Weissman contacted, cultivated, and befriended Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin for the specific purpose of culling classified information from him. They even promised to put in a good word for him with top Washington officials as a partial reward for his betrayal. However, Franklin, a committed neoconservative ideologue, didn't need much material incentive: he was convinced that U.S. policy in the Middle East wasn't nearly as pro-Israel as it ought to be, and he was particularly concerned about Iran.

    Starting in the late summer of 2002 and continuing until the late summer of 2004, these three spun their web of subversion, gathering vital intelligence and passing it on to Israeli embassy officials. And the FBI has a great deal of this on its surveillance tapes, so much of it "four years of tracking AIPAC staffers," according to the Jerusalem Post that the footage could be made into a reality show with a unique "spy versus spy" theme.

    Full Article
    News Source: Antiwar.com

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