Dual Loyalties

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Friday, September 10, 2004

FBI Probing Suspected Israeli Spy at Pentagon, Close to Wolfowitz and Feith

FBI Probing Suspected Israeli Spy at Pentagon, Close to Wolfowitz and Feith: "FBI Probing Suspected Israeli Spy at Pentagon, Close to Wolfowitz and Feith

Sat Aug 28, 2004 01:20 AM ET

By Joanne Morrison WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

The FBI is investigating a Pentagon analyst suspected of being an Israeli spy who passed secret documents about Iran to the Zionist state, U.S. government sources said Friday.

The officials told Reuters the analyst was connected to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office and is suspected of passing the documents to Israel via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The sources declined to identify the suspect and said no one had been arrested and no charges brought.

An official described the man under investigation as a mid-level Pentagon official who could not be considered a senior adviser even though he briefed officials.

The Israeli Embassy denied the allegations.

"They are completely false and outrageous," an embassy spokesman said.

AIPAC called the charges "baseless and false."

"We take our responsibilities as American citizens seriously. We would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of U.S. law or interests," AIPAC said in a statement.

'A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL'

The Washington Post and New York Times quoted the Pentagon as saying in a statement that it was cooperating with the Justice Department.

"The investigation involves a single individual at the Department of Defense at the desk officer level who was not in a position to have significant influence over U.S. policy," the papers quoted the statement as saying.

"Nor could a foreign power be in a position to influence U.S. policy through this individual. To the best of the Department of Defense's knowledge, the investigation does not target any other DOD individuals." CBS News, which first reported the story, said federal agents were about to arrest the suspect, who it said may have been in a position to influence Bush administration policy on Iran and Iraq.

The network said the analyst had ties to Rumsfeld's deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith, both regarded as leading architects of the war on Iraq that President Bush launched in March last year.

Asked whether the suspect worked under Feith, the number three Pentagon official, and William Luti, a senior official in the Pentagon's policy section, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita declined comment.

"It's a criminal matter and we don't comment on criminal matters," he said.

'TRUSTED ANALYST'

According to CBS, one of the documents passed to Israel was a draft presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran -- placed by Bush in an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea.

The network described the spy as "a trusted analyst" assigned to the unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop Iraq policy.

The New York Times reported the analyst worked for Feith, who created a special intelligence unit before the Iraq war that had sought to build a case that Baghdad had ties to al Qaeda -- a position that has been criticized by intelligence professionals.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Feith and Luti set up this unit that ended up finding a close relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq that later became an important element for invading Iraq.

Another office under both men was crucial in developing policy months before the Iraq war on post-war planning.

The Washington Post reported on its Web site that the official under suspicion specialized in Iranian affairs and was a veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency who was nearing retirement.

The Post said the investigation started more than a year ago, and it was unclear if the charges would be espionage or the lesser allegation of mishandling classified information.

One of the most damaging blows to U.S.-Israeli relations in recent times was dealt by a 1985 spying case in which U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was charged with passing secrets to the Zionist state.

He was sentenced to life in prison and his continued incarceration is still an irritant in U.S.-Israeli ties."

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