Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Haaretz - Israel News - AIPAC lobbyists summon Israeli diplomats to give testimony

Haaretz - Israel News - AIPAC lobbyists summon Israeli diplomats to give testimony: "Last update - 10:18 25/10/2005

AIPAC lobbyists summon Israeli diplomats to give testimony

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

Two lobbyists implicated in the AIPAC affair submitted a request Monday in which they asked Israeli diplomats in Washington to testify in their hearings.

Attorneys Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who together with Pentagon analyist, Larry Franklin, are facing charges of disclosing confidential information to Israel, asked the court to summon the diplomats.

Rosen and Weissman claim the diplomats' testimony is needed to prove their claims that they are innocent of their charges, and were involved solely in routine lobbying work.

The diplomats' identities are not revealed in the request, though it is estimated that one of them is political advisor Naor Gilon, who has already been named in connection with the affair in the past.

Israeli embassy spokesperson, David Segal, said in response that the embassy was still reviewing the request but that in principal it has agreed to cooperate.

Rosen and Weissman were fired from AIPAC last year after the affair became public, but according to media reports the two struck a deal that is said to ensure their silence.

Franklin recently agreed to a plea bargain in which he admitted to handing over confidential information to Rosen, Weissman and Gilon.

His sentencing is due to be given in January."

Monday, October 24, 2005

AIPAC Spys To Subpoena Israeli Diplomats (Mossad)

Diplomats' testimony sought by lobbyists: "Monday, October 24, 2005 · Last updated 4:13 p.m. PT

Diplomats' testimony sought by lobbyists


McLEAN, Va. -- Two former lobbyists with a pro-Israel group who are charged with disclosing classified U.S. defense information are seeking testimony from Israeli diplomats, according to court documents.

Lawyers for Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, formerly with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, filed motions made public Monday indicating they plan to subpoena the three diplomats, if necessary.

The motion indicates that because all three are out of the country or are planning to leave, it may be difficult to secure their testimony on the ex-lobbyists' behalf.

The diplomats are not identified, but one is known to be Naor Gilon, a political officer at the Israeli embassy who allegedly received classified information in the case.

Spokesman David Siegel said Monday that the embassy had just gotten notice of the defense request and that it would be reviewed. Generally, though, he said the Israeli government has promised to cooperate in the case.

An indictment charges that Rosen and Weissman discussed classified information with Israeli diplomats as far back as 1999. The information allegedly was passed along by a Pentagon analyst who has pleaded guilty in the case.

Rosen and Weissman's lawyers do not specifically say why they want the Israelis to testify. In an unrelated motion, however, they argue that a full airing of the contact between Rosen and Weissman and the Israelis would demonstrate that the pair were engaged in routine lobbying work and their discussions are protected under First Amendment free speech guarantees.

Rosen, of Silver Spring, Md., and Weissman, of Bethesda, Md., were fired by AIPAC earlier this year. Their case has been watched closely in Washington, where AIPAC is an influential organization on foreign policy issues related to Israel.

Former Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin has already pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information to Rosen, Weissman and Gilon. Franklin is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20."

Journal Gazette | 10/24/2005 | Cheney aide "Scooter” Libby in maelstrom of leaks probe

Journal Gazette | 10/24/2005 | Cheney aide in maelstrom of leaks probe: "Posted on Mon, Oct. 24, 2005

Cheney aide in maelstrom of leaks probe
By Mark Leibovich
Washington Post
WASHINGTON – Lewis “Scooter” Libby is known for his sarcastic, world-weary and at times dark sense of humor. He once quipped to an aide that he planned to stay as Vice President Cheney’s top adviser until “I get indicted or something.”

That was during President Bush’s first term, brighter days for the administration and, more to the point, before a special prosecutor was investigating Libby’s possible role in disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer, Valerie Plame.

The joke – recounted by the aide, who no longer works in the administration – sounded absurd at the time given Libby’s renown for canniness and prudence. He adheres to a favorite Cheney maxim that the vice president credits to longtime House Speaker Sam Rayburn: “You never get in trouble for something you don’t say.”

Yet Libby could find himself in big trouble for saying too much. And this jibes with a lesser-known side of Libby, the audacious novelist and daredevil skier gripped with concern about global evil and exotic terrorist scenarios; who fervently argues his own viewpoints, particularly on matters of foreign policy; and who can become, friends and associates say, overly passionate in the face of opposing ones.

Libby, 55, has displayed this aspect of himself in a series of heady stations throughout his career – at the State Department, Pentagon and, for the past five years, in the Bush administration. Reporters have seen this side of Libby, too, in his full animated conviction. But almost always on deep background, out of public view.

Now Libby’s cover of anonymity is blown. And for possibly blowing the cover of a CIA operative. People close to Libby point out the incongruity of the whole thing.

“He’s always been excruciatingly careful, which is ironic in his situation,” says World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense and a longtime mentor of Libby’s.

The “situation,” of course, refers to the Plame case. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is said to be focused on whether Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove had a part in divulging Plame’s identity in an attempt to discredit her husband, retired diplomat Joseph Wilson.

Wilson, who undertook a mission to Africa in 2002, was widely critical of the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Fitzgerald is investigating whether officials in the administration sought to undermine Wilson by outing his wife.

Libby has testified in at least two grand jury appearances about his conversations with reporters on the Plame matter – including two from The Washington Post. He also spoke at least three times with the New York Times’ Judith Miller, who spent 85 days in jail before accepting permission from Libby to tell the grand jury about their conversations. The Times published a nearly 6,000-word account last Sunday about Miller’s dealings with Libby. The story revealed that the misspelled moniker “Valerie Flame” appeared in the same notebook Miller used during an interview with Libby. (In a separate first-person article, Miller wrote she told the grand jury that she believed the name came from another source, whom she could not recall.)

The grand jury’s term expires Friday, and Fitzgerald is expected to reveal his intentions in a matter of days.

Friends describe Libby as engaging and unfailingly polite; it is his habit to stand when a dining partner excuses himself. He is diligent about returning reporters’ calls, albeit on deep background and, in most cases, “telling you absolutely nothing,” says William Kristol, a conservative columnist and longtime acquaintance of Libby’s who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle. Kristol says Libby “is someone who would seem to spend a lot of effort at not getting caught up in something like this.”

Libby, who declined to be interviewed for this story, is taut and compact, with small eyes and a short mop of graying brown hair. As he has through most of his career, he works long hours and complains that he doesn’t see enough of his wife and two sons. He has looked gaunt and tired of late, according to those who have seen him, and he told at least two friends and associates that he was thinking of leaving the administration after the 2004 election to spend more time writing and skiing.

But those plans would seem to be on hold, at least until the Plame case is settled. He’s been hobbled after breaking a bone in his foot while running up the stairs.

Among vice presidential aides through history, Libby is distinctive for the power and authority he wields, a product largely of Cheney’s outsized role in the Bush administration. Libby holds three titles: chief of staff and national security adviser to Cheney, and assistant to Bush. Unlike few other advisers, he attends top-level White House meetings.

He attends the weekly gathering of Bush’s top economic advisers and – according to Bob Woodward’s book “Plan of Attack,” about the Bush administration’s run-up to the Iraq war – was one of two non-principals who attended National Security Council meetings with the president after Sept. 11, 2001 (the other was Condoleeza Rice’s then-deputy, Stephen Hadley).

In these meetings, Libby rarely speaks. He fixes his eyes on whoever is talking and presses his fingers over his lips. “He sits there in the background with this little half-smile,” says former senator Alan Simpson, the Wyoming Republican and one of Cheney’s closest friends. Cheney vacations in Wyoming, and Libby usually goes along. “He’s a dissector,” Simpson says of Libby. “He is the ultimate, clinical professional.”

Then there is the Libby whom Cheney adviser Mary Matalin calls “the other Scooter” and “the man who you pray you get seated next to at a dinner party.”

It took him 20 years to complete “The Apprentice,” a soaring, erotically charged novel set in rural Japan during a blizzard in 1903. “I went out to Colorado, drank tequila and wrote,” Libby told CNN’s Larry King in 2002 in a rare television interview, the bulk of which he spent discussing the1986 novel, which had just been issued in paperback.

Wolfowitz, Libby’s political science professor at Yale in the 1970s, recalls Libby telling him that “The Apprentice” was originally set in Vermont, but he eventually decided it would work better in Japan. He threw 300 pages away and started again.

The author’s “storytelling skill neatly mixes conspiratorial murmurs with a boy’s emotional turmoil,” the New York Times Book Review said of the book.

A more recent piece of Libby’s writing also drew attention, if not acclaim.

“You went to jail in the summer,” Libby wrote in a letter to Miller, waxing pastoral after he freed her to speak to the grand jury about their conversations. “It is fall now. … Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work – and life.”

The spy-novel dexterity of Libby’s mind and the odd flamboyance of his prose raised questions that he might have been trying to say something more.

“How do I interpret that?” Fitzgerald asked Miller during her grand jury testimony, according to her account in the Times.

Friends say Libby cultivates an enigmatic bearing, one epitomized at the end of Miller’s first-person account. She tells of her last face-to-face encounter with Libby, in August 2003 in Jackson Hole, Wyo., after she had attended a conference in Aspen. “At a rodeo one afternoon, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat and sunglasses approached me,” Miller wrote. “He asked me how the Aspen conference had gone. I had no idea who he was.

“ ‘Judy,’ he said. ‘It’s Scooter Libby.’ ”

Several aspects of Libby are subject to varied interpretations, or at the very least, casual mystery. There are differing accounts of where “Scooter” comes from. He told the New York Times in 2002 that his father, an investment banker now deceased, coined it upon seeing him crawl across his crib. The same year, in an interview with King, Libby spoke of a childhood comparison to New York Yankees Hall-of-Fame shortstop Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto (“I had the range but not the arm,” Libby said).

Libby was born in New Haven, raised in Florida and – like Bush – attended prep school at Phillips Andover and college at Yale. He lives in McLean with his boys and his wife, Harriet Grant, a former lawyer on the Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Until he broke his foot, Libby played in a weekly touch football game in Chevy Chase, Md.

The gulf war era integrated the themes that have pervaded Libby’s career: his interest in Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, his frustration with the U.S. intelligence apparatus and his willingness to make leaps and support pre-emptive action. He shared the disappointment of his Pentagon bosses – Wolfowitz and Cheney – that the U.S. effort in the Gulf War had not toppled .

In 1992, he was the primary author of a memo for Cheney that would become a seminal document among so-called neo-conservatives. The memo called for pre-emptive U.S. military action – unilaterally, if necessary – to thwart developing countries from obtaining WMDs.

During the Clinton years, Libby practiced law at the D.C. office of Deckert, Price and Rhoads, where he represented Marc Rich, the fugitive billionaire whom Clinton pardoned hours before Clinton left office. Libby was called to testify before a congressional committee investigating Clinton’s pardons during the first months of the Bush administration.

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks confirmed Libby’s long-held view that Islamic terrorism was the foremost threat of the post-Cold War era. He had studied the topic for years and had spoke often of the exotic perils to the United States. “I was hounded by Scooter about what we were doing about things like anthrax,” Wolfowitz says, referring to 2002. “He was very concerned about what he saw as a general lack of preparedness.”

Libby greatly admires the work of Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian who posits that warfare is an inevitable part of civilization, evil is a basic condition of humanity, and tyrants must be confronted by the harshest possible means. (In late 2002, a few months before the Iraq invasion, Cheney – also a Hanson devotee – invited the historian to the vice president’s mansion for a small dinner gathering that included Libby.)

Hanson’s stark perspective comports with Libby’s view on Iraq. Libby was among the administration’s fiercest proponents of the invasion, and his office prepared a 48-page document of intelligence on Iraq WMDs for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations in February 2003. (Powell couldn’t confirm a lot of the data and wound up not using much of it.)

Libby can be impatient. And, associates say, he could become infuriated over discordant views over Iraq, both from within and outside the administration. On Friday the Los Angeles Times – quoting former aides – reported that Libby became so enraged about Wilson’s public statements that he monitored all of the former ambassador’s TV appearances and urged the administration to wage an aggressive campaign against him. (Cheney’s office declined comment on the report.)

Friends and associates say Libby remains unbowed about the U.S. action in Iraq and despite the setbacks of recent months has shown no hint of doubt. In times of travail, Libby recalls the excitement of his job and the grandeur of his mission.

“Cheney and Scooter play chess on several different levels,” Matalin says. “That’s how their minds work. It’s not about what’s right in front of him. They look at things in the sweep of history.

“The Wilson thing was almost mosquito-esque.”"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

AIPAC SPY TRIAL: Franklin Mentioned Naor Gilon by Name in Court

The Jewish Journal Of Greater Los Angeles: "2005-10-14

A Defiant, Guilty Plea in AIPAC Case
by Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Lawrence Franklin’s plea-bargain pledge to cooperate with the U.S. government in its case against two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials was put to the test as soon as it was made.

“It was unclassified and it is unclassified,” Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, insisted in court last week, describing a document that the government maintains is classified. The document is central to one of the conspiracy charges against Steve Rosen, the former foreign policy chief of AIPAC.

Guilty pleas usually are remorseful, sedate affairs. But Franklin appeared defiant and agitated in an Alexandria, Va., courthouse on Oct. 5 when he pleaded guilty as part of a deal that may leave him with a reduced sentence and part of his government pension.

Franklin’s prickliness could prove another setback for the U.S. government in a case that the presiding judge already has suggested could be dismissed because of questions about access to evidence.

Franklin’s performance unsettled prosecutors, who will attempt to prove that Rosen and Keith Weissman, AIPAC’s former Iran analyst, conspired with Franklin to communicate secret information. The case goes to trial Jan. 2.

The argument over the faxed document furnished the most dramatic encounter Wednesday.

“It was a list of murders,” Franklin began to explain to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis when Thomas Reilly, a youthful, red-headed lawyer from the Justice Department, leapt from his seat, shouting, “Your Honor, that’s classified!”

Ellis agreed to seal that portion of the hearing. JTA has learned that the fax was a list of terrorist incidents believed to have been backed by Iran.

There were other elements of Franklin’s plea that suggest he is not ready to cooperate to the fullest extent. The government says Franklin leaked information to the AIPAC employees because he thought it could advance his career, but Franklin says his motivation was “frustration with policy” on Iran at the Pentagon.

Franklin said he believed Rosen and Weissman were better connected than he and would be able to relay his concerns to officials at the White House’s National Security Council.

He did not explicitly mention in court that Iran was his concern. But JTA has learned that Franklin thought his superiors at the Pentagon were overly distracted by the Iraq war in 2003 — when he established contact with Rosen and Weissman — and weren’t paying enough attention to Iran.

The penal code criminalizes relaying information that “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” Franklin’s testimony would not be much use to the prosecution if he believed Rosen and Weissman simply were relaying information from the Pentagon to the White House, sources close to the defense of Rosen and Weissman said.

“I was convinced they would relay this information back-channel to friends on the NSC,” he said.

In any case, the section of the penal code that deals with civilians who obtain and relay classified information rarely, if ever, has been used in a prosecution, partly because it runs up against First Amendment protections for journalists and lobbyists, who frequently deal with secrets.

A spokesman for Abbe Lowell, Rosen’s lawyer, said Franklin’s guilty plea “has no impact on our case because a government employee’s actions in dealing with classified information is simply not the same as a private person, whether that person is a reporter or a lobbyist.”

The essence of Franklin’s guilty plea seemed to be only that he knew the recipients were unauthorized to receive the information. Beyond that, he insisted, he had no criminal intent.

Admitting guilt to another charge, relaying information to Naor Gilon, the chief political officer at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Franklin said that he wasn’t giving away anything that the Israeli didn’t already know.

“I knew in my heart that his government had this information,” Franklin said. “He gave me far more information than I gave him.”

Franklin turned prosecutors’ heads when he named Gilon, the first public confirmation that the foreign country hinted at in indictments is Israel. Indictments refer to a “foreign official.”

The suggestion that Franklin was mining Gilon for information, and not the other way around, turns on its head the description of the case when it first was revealed in late August 2004, after the FBI raided AIPAC’s offices. At the time, CBS described Franklin as an “Israeli spy.”

Asked about his client’s outburst, Franklin’s lawyer, Plato Cacheris, said only that it was “gratuitous.”

But Franklin’s claim reinforced an argument put forward by Israel — that Gilon was not soliciting anything untoward in the eight or nine meetings he had with Franklin beginning in 2002.

“We have full confidence in our diplomats, who are dedicated professionals and conduct themselves in accordance with established diplomatic practice,” said David Siegel, an embassy spokesman. “Israel is a close ally of the United States, and we exchange information on a formalized basis on these issues. There would be no reason for any wrongdoing on the part of our diplomats.”

Franklin also pleaded guilty to removing classified documents from the authorized area, which encompasses Maryland, Virginia and Washington, when he brought material to his home in West Virginia.

He sounded another defensive note in explaining the circumstances: He brought the material home on June 30, 2004, he said, to bone up for the sort of tough questions he often faced from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld’s then-deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Franklin, who has five children and an ill wife, said he is in dire circumstances, parking cars at a horse-race track, waiting tables and tending bar to make ends meet. Keeping part of his government pension for his wife was key to Franklin’s agreement to plead guilty, Cacheris told JTA.

Franklin pleaded guilty to three different charges, one having to do with his alleged dealings with the former AIPAC officials; one having to do with Gilon; and one for taking classified documents home.

The language of the plea agreement suggests that the government will argue for a soft sentence, agreeing to Franklin’s preferred minimum-security facility and allowing for concurrent sentencing. But it conditions its recommendations on Franklin being “reasonably available for debriefing and pre-trial conferences.”

The prosecution asked for sentencing to be postponed until Jan. 20, more than two weeks after the trial against Rosen and Weissman begins, suggesting that government leniency will be proportional to Franklin’s performance.

Franklin is a star witness, but he’s not the entire case. The charges against Rosen and Weissman, apparently also based on wiretapped conversations, allege that the two former AIPAC staffers shared classified information with fellow AIPAC staffers, the media and foreign government officials.

Two other U.S. government officials who allegedly supplied Rosen and Weissman with information have not been charged: David Satterfield, then deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and now the No. 2 man at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton-era National Security Council staffer who is now an analyst at the Brookings Institution.

The problem with the wiretap evidence lies in the government’s refusal to share much of it or even to say exactly how much it has. In a recent filing, the government said that even the quantity of the material should remain classified.

In a Sept. 19 hearing, Ellis suggested to prosecutor Kevin DiGregori that his failure to share the defendants’ wiretapped conversations with the defense team could lead to the case being dismissed.

“I am having a hard time, Mr. DiGregori, getting over the fact that the defendants can’t hear their own statements, and whether that is so fundamental that if it doesn’t happen, this case will have to be dismissed,” Ellis said.

DiGregori said the government might indeed prefer to see the case dismissed rather than turn over the material.

AIPAC fired Rosen and Weissman in April but is paying for their defense because of provisions in its bylaws. AIPAC had no comment, nor did lawyers for Weissman."

USATODAY.com - Investigator of CIA leak seen as relentless - Patrick Fitzgerald the Honest Man

USATODAY.com - Investigator of CIA leak seen as relentless: "Posted 10/10/2005 10:06 PM

Investigator of CIA leak seen as relentless
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — When defense attorney Ron Safer heard that Patrick Fitzgerald would lead an inquiry into the leak of a CIA operative's name, his first thought was that, from the Bush administration's perspective, "they could not have picked a worse person."

"He ... goes where the facts lead him": CIA leak investigator Patrick Fitzgerald.
By Charles Rex Arbogast, AP

Safer, a Chicago lawyer who has watched Fitzgerald since he was named U.S. attorney there in 2001, says the prosecutor "will bring to this the same energy and aggression that he does to every other project he undertakes."

Fitzgerald's official biography says he was named special counsel in December 2003 to investigate "the alleged disclosure of the identity of a purported employee of the Central Intelligence Agency."

That bland description understates the drama and stakes of the investigation. New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to testify. The inquiry led to interviews of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and to grand jury subpoenas for White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby and at least a dozen other officials.

Fitzgerald is to meet with Miller today to discuss newly discovered notes on her conversations with Libby. Rove will testify this week before the grand jury for a fourth time.

Fitzgerald wants to know who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to reporters. Her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, says her cover was blown in retaliation for an op-ed article he wrote in 2003 that accused Bush of "twisting" intelligence to justify the Iraq war.


The inquiry has roiled Washington for months, and tensions are rising because Fitzgerald's grand jury expires Oct. 28. But the man in charge is not a Beltway celebrity. He doesn't hold news conferences in Washington or appear on TV. Friends say he's brilliant and apolitical. Defense lawyers say he can be cold and sometimes surprises them by boldly challenging judges.

Friends and critics agree that his integrity is unassailable and that he is relentless. The list of people he has prosecuted — including al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former Illinois governor George Ryan and New York mobsters — shows he has no qualms about going after the powerful.

Fitzgerald's politics, motivations and style have prompted debate.

"He has no agenda," says David Kelley, former U.S. attorney in New York and a longtime friend. "He looks at the facts, uncovers the facts and goes where the facts lead him."

Mary Jo White, who was Fitzgerald's boss when she was U.S. attorney in Manhattan, says she knows nothing about his political views — "if he has any, and he may not."

Fitzgerald, who declined interview requests, is registered to vote with no party affiliation.

Defense lawyers have a different perspective. Scott Mendeloff, a Chicago lawyer who specializes in corporate fraud cases and formerly tried and supervised public corruption prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office, says Fitzgerald demonstrates "a more black-and-white view of the world" that is "reductionist in disregarding nuances beyond what it will take to prevail." Some defense lawyers, he says, believe Fitzgerald is "not prone to consider what some would term humane factors in charging and sentencing decisions."

"To say that he is extremely aggressive is, I think, a gross understatement," Safer says. When he's arguing a motion, Safer says, Fitzgerald is "not disrespectful, but he's a lot less deferential than I bet most judges are accustomed to."


Fitzgerald, 44, was born in Brooklyn. His Irish immigrant father, Patrick Sr., worked as a doorman at a building in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Fitzgerald went to Regis High School, a Jesuit preparatory school, then worked on its maintenance crew to pay his way through Amherst College. He majored in math and economics, then went to Harvard Law School.

He worked in a New York law firm before joining the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan in 1988. He stayed for 13 years, convicting Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and indicting bin Laden in a conspiracy that included the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

In Chicago, Fitzgerald has indicted two aides to Mayor Richard Daley on mail-fraud charges after an investigation into bribery and hiring abuses. Ryan is on trial on charges of racketeering conspiracy, mail and tax fraud and false statements during his terms as governor and Illinois secretary of State.

Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who teaches political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, says Fitzgerald is "almost universally admired ... for telling the truth and prosecuting these cases." He isn't suspected of political motives, Simpson says, because he came to Chicago with no ties to its top politicians and keeps a low profile. "He's doesn't do lunches at the important clubs or make rah-rah speeches," Simpson says.

Even lawyers who question Fitzgerald's tactics say they don't doubt his character. "Pat is driven by iron-tight integrity and a tireless work ethic," Mendeloff says.

Safer, who also once worked in the U.S. attorney's office, faults Fitzgerald for "trying to expand the reach of the mail fraud statutes in ways that are unprecedented" in his government corruption cases. Some errors by politicians, Safer says, "are punishable at the ballot box and not in criminal court." He says Fitzgerald "is impervious to political pressure. ... I've seen no evidence that he has anything but the purest motives."

White says it's unfair to suggest that Fitzgerald is too aggressive. "He's going to pursue matters ... with dedication and thoroughness," she says, "but overzealous? Certainly not."

Miguel Estrada, who worked with Fitzgerald in New York and represents Time reporter Matthew Cooper in the leak inquiry, says Fitzgerald, who is single and a workaholic, is "the picture of what the public would think is an earnest prosecutor. He's a boy scout."

Chuck Rosenberg, a Fitzgerald friend who is U.S. attorney in Houston, was asked recently why Fitzgerald is going after reporters. "I said to them, 'Pat isn't going after journalists, he is after the truth,' " Rosenberg says. "He's exactly the kind of person you'd want doing something like this.""

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lobby Watch: With Indictment of AIPAC Honchos, Trial of Spy-for-Israel Franklin May Be Postponed

Lobby Watch: With Indictment of AIPAC Honchos, Trial of Spy-for-Israel Franklin May Be Postponed: "With Indictment of AIPAC Honchos, Trial of Spy-for-Israel Franklin May Be Postponed
By Andrew I. Killgore
Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin was first indicted by a federal grand jury in May, for passing classified information to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel’s principal lobby in the United States. He was indicted again on June 13, this time charged with disclosing classified information to Israeli Embassy official Naor Gilon, including intelligence about a weapons test related to Iran’s nuclear program. On Aug. 4 the same grand jury, sitting in Alexandria, Virginia indicted Rosen and Weissman for, according to the Aug. 5 New York Times, “conspiring to gather and disclose classified national security information to journalists and an unnamed foreign power that government officials identified as Israel.”

The indictment contained additional charges against Franklin as well, making it likely his September trial date would be postponed, The Times said.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s account of Franklin’s June 13 indictment emphasized that, since Franklin saw Gilon 14 times, he would hardly have needed Rosen and Weissman to get in touch with him, tending (in JTA’s opinion) to undermine any case against them. Apparently the grand jury did not agree. The JTA also stressed that Franklin’s eagerness to influence U.S. policy toward Iran motivated him to seek out the far-reaching influence of Israel and pro-Israel officials inside the U.S. government.

The Washington Post reported on Franklin’s June indictment as well, but seemingly sought to conceal it by placing it in the local “Metro” section. The Post did reveal, however, that the indictment mentioned another Defense Department official who was present when Franklin disclosed the classified material to Rosen and Weissman. No mention was made, however, of the identity of the other Defense Department official.

Piecing together the disjointed press accounts of the investigation, it now appears that AIPAC was targeted as early as 2001. Indeed, the indictment against Rosen, AIPAC’s former director of foreign policy issues, and Weissman, a senior AIPAC Middle East analyst (AIPAC cut the two men loose in April 2005), cites illegal activities beginning in April 1999. According to the JTA, the FBI investigation stemmed from President George W. Bush’s determination to clamp down on leaks.

The indictments suggest the government has a trove of information on AIPAC.
The Franklin indictments already suggested that the government has a trove of information on the functioning of AIPAC, “an organization that hates exposure,” noted the JTA. In fact, AIPAC keeps such a low profile that it is rarely mentioned in the Washington, DC media.

Two decades ago when the Post mentioned the “Israeli lobby,” it did so using quotes, as if to imply that, while a few people might use the term, it was something outside the mainstream. The quotes have disappeared, but 32 of the 35 still active pro-Israel PACs (political action committees) that, in coordination with AIPAC, shell out campaign contributions, have totally misleading names, with no mention of Israel, Jewish, Zionism or the Middle East (see the November 2004 Washington Report, p. 24).

AIPAC has been called a “night flower” in that it blossoms in darkness and dies in the sunlight. This is an apt designation because, while it is so powerful that it inspires fear among politicians, it is so little known by the public. Even as late as August 2005, The New York Times’ David Johnston, in his story on the Rosen and Weissman indictments, described AIPAC as “a” pro-Israel lobbying group.

Jewish leaders seem particularly worried that the FBI has learned so much about how the AIPAC juggernaut works: “There is a strange sense that when the two [Rosen and Weissman] are indicted, a lot of crap is going to come out, and it could have precocious implications for the institution,” said a Jewish communal leader with strong ties to AIPAC, as quoted in the newspaper Forward.

Steve Rosen was a dominant figure in AIPAC, which used to limit its lobbying to Congress. Under Rosen, however, AIPAC achieved real success in penetrating the White House and the Department of State as well. Perhaps its very success led President Bush to launch the FBI’s careful investigation of AIPAC.

In August 2002, Rosen telephoned a Pentagon employee (could it be the outgoing neocon undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith?), to ask the name of an expert on Iran in the office of the Secretary of Defense. The unnamed employee gave Rosen Franklin’s name. The two were supposed to meet a week later, but ended up meeting in February 2003. Weissman attended that meeting with Rosen, as did an additional unnamed Pentagon official.

A “Real Insider”
En route to that meeting Rosen told Weissman (presumably) that he was excited to meet the “Pentagon” guy because he was a “real insider,” the indictment said. (The indictment clearly indicates that Rosen’s car was “bugged” by the FBI.)

Franklin’s June indictment describes him as motivated not only by hopes that his ideas on Iran would gain acceptance, but by personal ambition. Looking at a position on the National Security Council, he asked Rosen to “put in a good word” for him. Rosen replied, “I’ll do what I can.”

The indictment of Rosen and Weissman is a major blow to Israel-firsters who hope to contain the damage of the espionage allegations to one errant Pentagon staffer. With the Israeli Embassy’s Gilon “reassigned,” the hopes of those who want to cut AIPAC down to size now rest on Rosen and Weissman—and perhaps that unnamed Defense Department official.

The Times’ Johnston noted in his Aug. 4 report on the indictments, “The charges leave delicate questions unanswered. It is unclear what action, if any, the government plans to take against Israel or an embassy official [Gilon] who met with the three Americans.”

AIPAC’s worst nightmare, of course, is having to register as a foreign, rather than an American, lobby. That would shed too much light on AIPAC and Israeli activities alike—something the “night flower” might not survive.

Andrew I. Killgore is publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs."

Monday, October 10, 2005

granma.cu -Light sentence for a Pentagon expert who spied for Israel

granma.cu -: "Light sentence for a Pentagon expert who spied for Israel

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD—Special for Granma International—

ALTHOUGH he admitted having handed over classified information from the U.S. State Department to Israeli agents, it is already known that Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin, aged 58, who was personal advisor to Donald Rumsfeld, is to be given a sentence way below the 25 prison term established in law, according to an AP cable.

On the other hand, the five Cubans arrested by the FBI for infiltrating Miami terrorist groups in order to neutralize their acts were mercilessly sentenced to life imprisonment and lengthy prison terms for acts of "espionage" that the prosecution was never able to prove. Franklin is to receive a light sentence, AP affirms.

The official admitted to having handed over Pentagon classified information to Naor Gilon, a political official at the Israeli embassy, and to two U.S. citizens employed by the American-Israeli Affairs Public Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group.

The agency notes that he stands to receive a 25-year term but it is thought that he will be given a far shorter one, according to federal direction over the sentencing, and adding that District Judge T.S. Ellis is to pronounce the sentence on January 20.

Franklin, a resident of Kearneysville, Virginia, pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and one of illegally retaining national defense information.


It is important to note that Franklin is not just any lowly U.S. government official: for a long period he worked directly with Under Secretary Douglas Feith, at the time described as the Pentagon No. 3, who advised on Middle East and Iranian issues.

Moreover, Franklin also stated to the court that he occasionally met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfovitz in an advisory capacity.

The AP article by journalist Matthew Barakat states that the two Americans acting as Israeli agents: Steven Rosen of Silver Springs, Maryland, and Keith Weissman, of Bethseda, in the same state, have been charged with conspiracy to receive and disclose information on U.S. Defense. He does not state whether they are under arrest.

According to court documents, Franklin met regularly with Rosen and Weissman from 2002-2004 and discussed classified information with them. From 1999 Rosen and Weissman informed the Israeli government on a series of issues such as: Al Qaeda, terrorist activities in Central Asia, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and U.S. policies on Iran.

Franklin also confessed that he was hoping that his "contacts" would be able to influence U.S. policy via their links with the National Security Council.

Various high-ranking Pentagon and U.S. officials testified in the Five’s trial that had not even come close to a single sheet of classified information. Even though their trial has been annulled by the Atlanta Court of Appeals and their detention declared illegal by a panel of UN jurists, the five Cuban victims of Bush justice are still imprisoned in distinct U.S. jails.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jerusalem Post | Franklin's trial won't affect Israel, Israeli diplomatic sources sneered

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Israel: Franklin's trial won't affect us

Nathan Guttman, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 6, 2005


Israel alleged that it would not be affected by Lawrence Franklin's plea bargain or by the fact that the names of Israeli diplomats were mentioned in court. Israeli diplomatic sources said Thursday that Naor Gilon, the former political officer at the Israeli embassy in Washington, who was in contact with convicted Pentagon analyst Franklin, had no idea that the information he got from Franklin was classified.

"We are not responsible for what is said to us by American officials", said the diplomatic source, "even if an American official did something he was not authorized to do, we had no way of knowing that."

Mark Regev, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in response to the incident that "the Israel embassy staff in Washington conduct themselves in a completely professional manner in accordance with all international conventions, and no one serious has made any allegations to the contrary."

Naor Gilon met between eight and twelve times with Larry Franklin and discussed with him issues regarding Iran's nuclear program and the internal political situation in Iran. Israeli sources described these meetings as routine and common practice for any diplomat.

Franklin himself, in a court hearing Wednesday in which he pleaded guilty to three counts of communicating classified information and holding documents at his home, said he "knew in his heart" that the Israelis already possessed all the information he was giving Gilon. Franklin added that he received more information from the Israeli diplomat than he had given him.

In a short formal reaction to the Franklin plea bargain, David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli embassy, said, "we have full confidence in our diplomats who are dedicated professionals who conduct themselves in full accordance with established diplomatic practices".

Israel and the US have not reached yet an understanding concerning the method in which Gilon and two other Israeli diplomats from the embassy will be interviewed by investigators probing the case. Israeli suggested that the US relay its questions to the Israelis and will get in return written answers, but there was yet to be an American response to this offer.

While Israel was mentioned only in passing and court documentation showed it was not accused of any wrongdoing, the prosecutors focused on two former officials at AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. The trials of Steve Rosen, former AIPAC director of policy, and Keith Weissman, former Iran analyst at the lobby, were slated to begin on January 3rd.

Abbe Lowell, the attorney representing Rosen in the case, said Wednesday that he was not surprised by the fact that Franklin, who was under great pressure struck a deal with the prosecution. "It has no impact on our case because a government employee's actions in dealing with classified information are simply not the same as a private person, whether that person is a reporter or a lobbyist", said Lowell in a written statement following Franklin's court appearance.

Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz said Thursday that Israel had not 'activated' Franklin, and that Israel was not spying in the United States. He stressed that any conviction was in no way an accusation of Israeli involvement in spying."

MercuryNews.com | 10/06/2005 | Iran expert admits giving data to pro-Israel group

MercuryNews.com | 10/06/2005 | Iran expert admits giving data to pro-Israel group: "Posted on Thu, Oct. 06, 2005

Iran expert admits giving data to pro-Israel group
By Jerry Markon
Washington Post

WASHINGTON - A Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty Wednesday to passing government secrets to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group and revealed for the first time that he also gave classified information directly to an Israeli government official in Washington.

Lawrence A. Franklin told a judge in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., that he met at least eight times with Naor Gilon, who was the political officer at the Israeli Embassy before being recalled last summer.

The guilty plea and Franklin's account appeared to cast doubt on longstanding denials by Israeli officials that they engage in any intelligence activities in the United States. The possibility of continued Israeli spying in Washington has been a sensitive subject between the two governments since Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, admitted to spying for Israel in 1987 and was sentenced to life in prison.

David Siegel, a representative of the Israeli Embassy, said Israeli officials have been approached by U.S. investigators and are cooperating. ``We have full confidence in our diplomats, who are dedicated professionals who conduct themselves in full accordance with established diplomatic practices,'' Siegel said.

Court documents filed along with Franklin's plea said he provided classified data -- including information about a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq and weapons tests conducted by a foreign country -- to an unidentified ``foreign official.''

The country was not named, but as Franklin entered his plea, he disclosed that some of the material he gave the lobbyists related to Iran. His attorneys stopped him from speaking further, and prosecutors immediately accused Franklin of revealing classified information in court.

Franklin said he passed the information because he was ``frustrated'' with the direction of U.S. policy and thought he could influence it by having the recipients relay the data through ``back channels'' to officials on the National Security Council. He said he never intended to harm the United States, ``not even for a second,'' and that he received far more information from Gilon than he gave. ``I knew in my heart that his government already had the information,'' he said.

Franklin, 58, a specialist on Iran, pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts and a third charge of possessing classified documents. The Defense Department suspended Franklin, who said in court that he now works as a waiter and bartender and at a racetrack. He faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing Jan. 20. As part of the plea agreement, Franklin has agreed to cooperate in the larger federal investigation.

Legal experts called the plea a major development in the long-running investigation of whether U.S. secrets were passed to the Israeli government. Franklin said he disclosed classified data to two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Those employees, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, have been charged in what prosecutors said was a broad conspiracy to obtain and illegally pass classified information to foreign officials and news reporters."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jerusalem Post | Franklin: I gave Israel secret material

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Oct. 6, 2005 0:10 | Updated Oct. 6, 2005 0:26
Franklin: I gave Israel secret material

Former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin admitted in court Wednesday he passed classified information to Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon and to two former AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman.

Franklin agreed in court to testify against the two AIPAC officials and to prove that he had indeed passed classified information on to them, and had told them clearly this information was classified.

This was the first time that Israel was explicitly mentioned in the courtroom and that Gilon's name was disclosed. When asked by Judge T.S. Ellis whether he communicated classified information to a foreign official, Franklin replied: "I met occasionally with Naor Gilon from the Israeli embassy."

Adding that he had "assumed the Israeli government has already possessed" the information that Franklin gave Gilon, Franklin told the court that his impression was that Gilon gave him more information than he, Franklin, gave the Israeli official.

When asked to characterize his contact with Rosen and Weissman, Franklin said that he talked to them about his "frustration with a particular policy" and said that he had hoped that the two AIPAC officials would convey his views to senior officials in the National Security Council with whom they had good ties. "I asked them to use this information and to get it back channeled to the NSC," he said.

Franklin also pleaded guilty to the third charge of holding classified defense documents at his home in West Virginia without being authorized to do so.

The prosecutors did not say what prison term they will be asking for and the sentencing hearing was scheduled for January 20, 2006.

As part of his plea agreement with the prosecution Franklin will be allowed to serve his term at a minimum security detention camp and will also be allowed to keep part of his federal pension, which is assigned to his wife.

The indictment speaks of information garnered from two US government officials and relayed to three foreign officials, understood to be senior Israeli Embassy staffers.

JTA reported that one of the US government officials is David Satterfield, then deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and now the No. 2 man at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The other is Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton-era National Security Council staffer and now an analyst at the Brookings Institution.

One of the Israelis is Gilon, who until this summer was the chief political officer at the embassy.

The indictment lists charges involving incidents dating back to 1999, and is related to information on Iran and terrorist attacks in Central Asia and Saudi Arabia. For a period in 2004, Franklin worked covertly with the government and relayed allegedly classified information to Rosen and Weissman."

Bloomberg.com: U.S. - Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty to Passing U.S. State Secrets

Bloomberg.com: U.S.:
"Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty to Passing U.S. State Secrets
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- A former U.S. Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty to charges he gave classified military documents to unauthorized individuals.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to three counts. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the most serious of the charges. The government recommended his sentencing be delayed to let him complete his cooperation in the case.

``I divulged classified information to individuals unauthorized to receive it,'' Franklin said in court.

Franklin, a former colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, admitted handing over classified information to two former employees of the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. The men, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged in August with conspiring to disclose information they received form Franklin to foreign government officials.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, fired policy director Rosen and senior Iran analyst Weissman in April.

More than 80 classified documents were found during a search of Franklin's home in Kearneysville, West Virginia, and a search of his Pentagon office a year ago yielded the classified document containing the information he was accused of revealing.

The case is U.S. v. Franklin, 05cr225, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A trial has been scheduled for Sept. 9.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Cary O'Reilly in Washington at caryoreilly@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: October 5, 2005 16:20 EDT "