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Thread: Details Of Plot Unveiled In Israeli Spy Scandal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Details Of Plot Unveiled In Israeli Spy Scandal

    Details of a Plot Unveiled in Case Against Franklin

    BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    June 14, 2005

    WASHINGTON - An analyst for the Pentagon, Lawrence Franklin, conspired to funnel classified information to Israel during a series of meetings with two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a top diplomat from the Israeli Embassy, according to a grand jury indictment that was unsealed yesterday.

    The indictment says Mr. Franklin sought the help of a senior lobbyist for Aipac in getting a job at the National Security Council; that he enlisted the Israeli diplomat to write a letter for his daughter to ease her travels in the Middle East, and that he discussed with that diplomat weapons tests for a Middle Eastern country. Coffees were sipped, sandwiches purchased, and at one point the Israeli diplomat gave Mr. Franklin a gift card.

    The grand jury's indictment charges Mr. Franklin, who has served as a desk officer on Iran at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, with six counts, including mishandling classified information, communicating defense information to individuals not authorized to receive it, and, most serious, "a conspiracy to communicate classified information to agent and representative of a foreign government, without specific authorization."

    Mr. Franklin, 58, pleaded innocent yesterday to all six counts against him. "Mr. Franklin entered a plea of not guilty and he is prepared to take this to trial," his lawyer, Plato Cacheris, told The New York Sun yesterday. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III yesterday set a trial date for September 6.

    The FBI probe into Mr. Franklin and two Aipac lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, has attracted considerable press attention since the story was leaked in August last year. In April, Aipac terminated the employment of Mr. Rosen, who served as the organization's director of foreign policy, and Mr. Weissman, who was one of Aipac's top Iran policy analysts.

    Until yesterday, however, no formal indictments against any of the targets have been made public. Initial press reports described Mr. Franklin as an Israeli mole in the Pentagon, though the indictment made public yesterday does not charge him with spying.

    The 20-page indictment filed initially on May 26, 2005, in the U.S. district court of Alexandria, Va., details meetings Mr. Franklin had with two unindicted co-conspirators, not named in the court document but widely known to be Messrs. Rosen and Weissman. The indictment also describes a series of meetings with a foreign official, also widely known to be the Israeli Embassy's chief political officer, Naor Gilon. Mr. Gilon remains to this day the embassy's point of contact with the Bush administration on Iran policy.

    "Our diplomats conduct themselves in full accordance with established diplomatic practice and did not do anything that would contravene these standards," an Israeli embassy spokesman, David Siegel, said yesterday. He would offer no further comment on the indictments.

    Most of the charges against Mr. Franklin are listed in the section of the criminal code that includes crimes of treason and espionage. The federal government, however, has chosen not to charge Mr. Franklin with these more serious crimes. Last month, Mr. Cacheris told the Sun that the FBI last August asked Mr. Franklin to plead guilty to being a spy for Israel after he voluntarily cooperated with what the analyst believed was a probe of Aipac.

    Many of the familiar patterns in other spy cases are absent from the Franklin affair. For example, with the exception of a gift card Mr. Gilon allegedly gave Mr. Franklin on February 13, 2004, there was no pattern of payment toward Mr. Franklin. And with the exception of what the government says was an appendix to a classified document, Mr. Franklin did not pass any classified documents or photos to either Mr. Gilon or Messrs. Rosen and Weissman. The government's case for a conspiracy hinges on conversations between Mr. Franklin and Messrs. Gilon, Rosen, and Weissman.

    Despite a wealth of fresh details on the dates, times, and locations of those conversations, the indictment is vague on exactly what Mr. Franklin is alleged to have passed on to the Israelis and the lobbyists. For example, it refers to conversations about a "certain Middle Eastern country," widely known to be Iran. The indictment says that Mr. Franklin faxed one of the lobbyists a "classified appendix to the classified draft internal policy document defendant had previously discussed" with the two lobbyists.

    One source familiar with the document described it as a "list of horribles about Iran. The sorts of things most people knew already, such as Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah." Mr. Franklin's attorney last month said the document did not contain classified material.

    The details of the information Mr. Franklin allegedly shared with Mr. Gilon and the Aipac lobbyists could shed light on whether Israeli officials relied only on Mr. Franklin to receive the information he shared. Since 1996, the intelligence services of America and Israel have had a formal channel to share threat information on Iran. That channel was expanded to a formal political group in 1998.

    The indictment states that Mr. Franklin tried to enlist Mr. Rosen's help in getting him a job at the National Security Council. Mr. Rosen, referred to as co-conspirator 1, said on February 14, 2003, that he would see what he could do to get Mr. Franklin a job "by the elbow of the president."

    That incident stands out because Mr. Franklin's defenders have said that Mr. Franklin sought out the two Aipac lobbyists in order to get threat information to the White House.

    The indictment also alleges that Mr. Gilon may have influenced Mr. Franklin's work. In a meeting on May 23, 2003, at the Pentagon Officer's Athletic Club, Messrs. Franklin and Gilon, who was referred to in the indictment as "FO," for foreign official, discussed European views on Iran - referred to as the "Middle Eastern country" - and its nuclear program. Following the meeting, the indictment says Mr. Franklin drafted an action memo to his superiors "incorporating suggestions made by the FO during the meeting."

    All told, the indictment lists 14 times between August 15, 2002, and June 23, 2004, that Mr. Franklin met with Mr. Gilon. The frequency of the meetings and phone calls suggests that Mr. Franklin did not need Messrs. Rosen and Weissman to reach the government of Israel.

    An affidavit against Messrs. Rosen and Weissman is expected this month.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Israel denies US spy work,00.html

    June 14, 2005

    ISRAEL today "unequivocally" denied allegations it was engaged in any kind of intelligence gathering in the United States following the indictment of a Pentagon analyst on charges of passing classified information to a pro-Israel lobby group.

    "The question is: is Israel carrying out intelligence-gathering in the United States? The answer is: absolutely not," Labour MP Efraim Sneh, who heads the parliamentary subcommittee for security affairs, said.

    "Israel meticulously abstains from all intelligence-gathering in the United States. I am saying this unequivocally," he said in an interview with army radio.

    "This started as policy in the wake of the Pollard affair and everyone has rigorously stuck to this," he added, referring to Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed for life in 1987 in the United States on charges of spying for Israel.

    Yesterday, a US court indicted Lawrence Franklin, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, on four counts of communicating national defence information to persons not entitled or authorised to receive it, and two counts of conspiracy.

    According to the indictment, Franklin allegedly divulged classified information about an unnamed Middle Eastern country to two employees of a Washington lobbying firm, a foreign diplomat and another person associated with that country's intelligence service.

    The indictment gives no names other than Franklin's, but officials had previously identified the lobbying firm as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    The indictment did not say what country the diplomat was from. Israel denied any involvement in the case after Franklin's arrest in May.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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