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Thread: Pentagon Analyst Charged With Disclosing Secrets

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    Pentagon Analyst Charged With Disclosing Secrets

    Pentagon analyst charged with disclosing secrets

    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=8388274

    Wed May 4, 2005 12:02 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Defense Department analyst was arrested on Wednesday on charges of disclosing classified information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq to two individuals with a pro-Israel lobbying group.

    Lawrence Franklin, 58, surrendered to the FBI and faces charges of disclosing classified U.S. national defense information to the individuals that sources said were with the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    The Justice Department, in announcing the case, said that Franklin faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

    Franklin, a Defense Department employee since 1979, worked on the Iran desk within the office of the secretary of defense at the time the government says he disclosed the information.

    The criminal complaint and an accompanying FBI affidavit, filed in federal court in Virginia, said that Franklin on June 26, 2003, had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, with the two individuals.

    At the lunch, Franklin disclosed classified information, designated top secret, related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq. Neither of the two individuals had the security clearance to receive that information, the department said.

    The two individuals were not identified by name in the court documents.

    Franklin told the two individuals that the information was "highly classified" and asked them not to "use" it, according to the court documents.

    The complaint also said that Franklin disclosed, without authorization, classified U.S. government information to a foreign official and to members of the news media on other occasions.

    In addition, according to the FBI affidavit, approximately 83 separate classified U.S. government documents were found during a search of Franklin's West Virginia home in June 2004. The dates of these documents spanned three decades.

    © Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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    Analyst Charged With Passing Secret Info

    Wednesday May 4, 2005 10:31 PM

    By MARK SHERMAN

    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pentagon analyst was arrested Wednesday and charged with giving classified information about potential attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq to employees of a pro-Israel group.

    Larry Franklin, a 58-year-old Air Force Reserves colonel who once worked for the Pentagon's No. 3 official, is the first person charged in a long-running investigation into whether Israel improperly obtained U.S. secrets.

    Twice last year FBI agents searched the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying organization influential on U.S.-Israeli relations. It was once thought AIPAC might be a target of the probe, but that's not the case, according to two knowledgeable people. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because the probe is still under way.

    One of the people is someone familiar with the group's role in the probe; the other is a federal law enforcement official. They said the FBI is focusing on whether any classified information reached Israel.

    An FBI agent's affidavit that accompanied the criminal complaint against Franklin does not suggest that the disclosure endangered U.S. troops, but said intelligence sources could have been compromised.

    There is no allegation of espionage by Franklin. He faces a single count of disclosing classified defense information, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his country was not involved.

    ``Israel does not carry on any activity in the United States which could harm, God forbid, its closest ally,'' Shalom told Israel's Channel One TV.

    Israel has said it imposed a ban on espionage in the United States after the scandal over Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy caught spying for Israel in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison. That case damaged U.S.-Israeli relations and remains a sore point between the countries.

    AIPAC declined to comment on the Franklin case Wednesday, but has previously said it had done nothing wrong and was cooperating with the investigation.

    Franklin, of Kearneysville, W. Va., turned himself in Wednesday morning. He made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and was released on $100,000 bond under the condition he surrender his firearms and passport.

    A preliminary hearing was set for May 27. Franklin's lawyer, John Richards, said he expected his client would plead innocent.

    Franklin, who specialized in Iran and Middle Eastern affairs and had clearance to review top secret documents, gave classified information to two people without such clearance at a luncheon meeting at a restaurant in Arlington, Va., in June 2003, FBI Agent Catherine Hanna said in the affidavit.

    Hanna said Franklin admitted 10 months ago that he disclosed the information.

    The people at the lunch have been identified as AIPAC employees Steve Rosen, the director of research, and Keith Weissman, deputy director of foreign policy issues. Neither still works for the group. Both have been interviewed by the FBI but neither has been charged.

    Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client ``never solicited, received or passed on any classified documents from Larry Franklin.''

    The affidavit does not allege documents were passed. It says Franklin described the information, said it was highly classified and asked the men not to use it. The information concerned possible attacks against U.S. troops by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, according to the federal law enforcement official.

    A Defense Department official said Franklin continued to work at the Pentagon until his arrest, but he could not immediately say what kind of work Franklin performed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter still is under FBI investigation.

    Franklin's top secret security clearance was suspended in June 2004, the Justice Department said. He formerly worked in the office of policy undersecretary Douglas Feith.

    The suspension followed a search of Franklin's West Virginia home that turned up 83 classified documents, Hanna said.

    Franklin holds a doctorate in Asian studies. He has taught history courses at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., for the past five years, history department chairman Anders Henriksson said. Franklin ``is an effective instructor and very well qualified to teach the courses,'' Henriksson said.

    ^---

    Associated Press reporter Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Va., contributed to this story.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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