The news came out around the same time as the news that Dan Rather faked a report about President Bush. To be honest, when it first came out I was waiting for someone in the blogisphere that it was fake, just as they did with the Rather story.
But that report never happened. As time went by it became clearer that there was a real live actual ongoing investigation of some AIPAC lobbyists taking classified information to give to Israel. I refused to believe it, with Pollard in jail for so long, how could Israel be so stupid once again. The fact is they weren’t stupid–it was much scarier than that. AIPAC did not knowingly take classified information and the entire case was an FBI sting to get at the powerful Jewish Lobby.
Early in June 2004, an employee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC–better known by its media tag, “the powerful Israeli lobby“–received an urgent phone call. Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin, a specialist on Iran, informed AIPAC lobbyist Keith Weissman that they had better meet because he had news of the most important kind to disclose. Mr. Weissman not surprisingly agreed to the rendezvous, held in Pentagon City, Va., where he was told about an imminent, Iran-directed assault on American troops and Israeli agents in Iraq. First, though, Mr. Franklin delivered a warning whose purpose would be clear only later. What he was about to tell him was highly classified, “Agency stuff,” and having it could get him into trouble, he informed Mr. Weissman.
Impelled by the urgency of the message, the lobbyist nonetheless quickly shared it with his senior colleague, Steve Rosen, director of foreign policy issues for AIPAC. Hoping to raise the alarm about the imperiled Americans and Israelis, the two then contacted a Washington Post reporter (who filed no story on the matter) and an Israeli embassy officer.
Mr. Weissman didn’t know for some time that his trusted Pentagon informant–a man he and his AIPAC colleague had met with several times before–had, at this particular meeting, been wearing a wire for the FBI. Or that his warning that he was sharing highly classified stuff had been spelled out for the purpose of evidence gathering. Neither of the AIPAC lobbyists knew, then, that they had been entrapped in a sting, to lead ultimately to a remarkable legal show. Their charges were ever attempt by government prosecutors to convict private citizens under the 1919 Espionage Act.
Mr. Franklin and Iran specialist had first met with Messrs. Rosen and Weissman in February 2003 there were at least three other meetings. Mr. Franklin’s driving concern–the danger posed by a terrorist Iran, and the need for vigorous countermeasures by the U.S.–played no small role in their discussions. The centerpiece of the indictment concerned his disclosures to Steve Rosen about an internal policy document on Iran, which, the government alleged, was classified.
The FBI went to Franklin’s home at the end of June, 2004. Without any evidence they convinced him that the two lobbyists were up to no good, and were endangering American interests. Of course helped to convince Franklin was the FBI’s discovery in his house of 83 classified documents–material he had taken to work on at home, as he had done repeatedly despite warnings from his Pentagon supervisors that this was not allowed.
So the fix was in. The FBI was had its “Case” Against the Evil Jewish Lobby. Problem was, the case was a fraud. That is why the case was eventually dropped. The prosecution realized that it could not prove their case.
After the indictment, it took AIPAC about ten minutes to abandon the two defendants who had been employed at the organization for many years (which tells us much about the quality of the senior members of the organization). Rosen has begun a law suit against the AIPAC, lets hope he wins big, although it cannot make up for the years of hell that he and his family went through.
There also has to be a special place in hell for scum such as MJ Rosenberg and others, who during the Chas Freeman affair said that Rosen had no right to speak his mind because he was a traitor to the United States. Funny thing is MJ Rosenberg has admitted his guilt in playing fast and loose with United States secrets, as for the AIPAC defendants, they were just victims of an abuse of power.
All that is left is for Rosen, Weissman and now Representative Jane Harman are left to pick up the pieces. I wish them well.