Pentagon analyst charged with disclosing secrets
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.
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