AIPAC Investigation Resumes After Hiatus

December 2, 2004 — The FBI resumed its investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, yesterday when agents searched its offices for the second time in three months and served subpoenas on four senior AIPAC staff. Those subpeonaed are required to appear at a grand jury regarding the alleged acts of espionage involving a Pentagon employee and AIPAC. The man at the center of the investigation is Larry Franklin, an Iran analyst who works in the office of William Luti, who in turn is in charge of the Iran desk in Douglas Feith’s office.

Feith is undersecretary of defense for policy, the third highest position at Defense. As a leading neocon and “hawk” on Middle East questions, he was one of the leading voices urging the war on Iraq. Throughout the years he has shown his strong support for Israel, and even appears regularly at Zionist Organization of America events. He holds tight to the belief that Iran is Israel’s archenemy.

Larry Franklin is suspected of passing a draft national-security presidential directive (NSPD) on Iran to AIPAC, which in turn is suspected of forwarding the classified document to Israel.  The directive, which urged the administration to endorse regime change in Tehran, is believed to have been written by Michael Rubin, an up-and-coming neocon attached to the American Enterprise Institute. AIPAC has taken a leading role in discrediting Iran at every possible turn.

In October, according to the Los Angeles Times, Franklin stopped cooperating with the FBI and hired a high-profile attorney, Plato Cacheris, whose resume includes the Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen spy cases.

In Wednesday’s search, FBI agents sought more files belonging to Steven Rosen, AIPAC’s director of foreign policy issues, and Keith Weissman, an AIPAC expert on Iran.  They served subpoenas on executive director Howard Kohr, managing director Richard Fishman, communications director Renee Rothstein and research director Rafi Danziger.

AIPAC meanwhile prominently posted a profession of innocence on the portal of its website.  The December 1 statement read, “Today, the FBI returned and requested and obtained additional files relating to the same two AIPAC staff members and delivered subpoenas requiring the appearance of four senior AIPAC staff before a grand jury…. AIPAC has done nothing wrong….”

Also under investigation, according to the Israeli media, is Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon - political adviser to the Israeli embassy in Washington - who is suspected of giving US secrets to Israel.

The new administration’s policy toward Iran, which the neocons have vowed to destabilize, is clearly reaching crisis proportions as international efforts seek to end Iran’s program of uranium enrichment, even for peaceful purposes.  Will the neocons, including Franklin, maintain their suspicions against Iran even if it has no nuclear capability? Will they continue their anti-Iran policies?

Related Links

  • Pentagon/Israel Spying Case Expands: Fomenting a War on Iran, Juan Cole (29 August 2004)
  • With friends like these…, Mark Perry, Palestine Report (9 September 2004)
  • Zogby Poll: Should AIPAC be asked to register as an agent of a foreign government and lose its tax-exempt status?, Press Release, Zogby International (25 September 2004)
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