Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Friday, December 10, 2004

Israel admits meetings between Franlin and Mossad Station Chief Naor Gilon

Israel admits analyst meetings: "Israel admits analyst meetings
FBI investigating Pentagon employee.

Published Monday, August 30, 2004
JERUSALEM (AP) - A senior Israeli diplomat in Washington has met with a Pentagon analyst being investigated by the FBI on suspicion he passed classified information to Israel, Israeli officials confirmed today.

They reiterated, however, that Israel does not have a spy at the Pentagon. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said meetings between Israeli embassy employees and U.S. government officials are commonplace and that the two governments routinely share secrets.

"Israel and the United States have intimate ties ... and the information being exchanged is much more classified than any conversation that may have taken place," Shalom told a news conference.

U.S. officials say the FBI investigation focuses on Lawrence Franklin, an analyst of Iranian affairs who works in a Pentagon office headed by Douglas Feith, the undersecretary for policy. Feith has been accused by Democrats of seeking to manipulate intelligence to help make the case for going to war in Iraq.

Congressional investigations have found no evidence of that.

The Israeli diplomat was identified as Naor Gilon, head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and a specialist on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Shalom did not mention Gilon by name, but when asked about contacts between Gilon and Franklin, he did not deny they had taken place.

The Israeli daily Maariv today quoted Gilon as saying he did nothing wrong.

The diplomat told Maariv he was concerned that as a result of the reports, he won’t be able to continue working in Washington.

"Now, people will be scared to talk to me," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Newsweek magazine reported in this week’s edition that more than a year ago, the FBI was monitoring a meeting between an Israeli Embassy official and a representative of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main Israeli lobbying group in Washington.

At one point, Franklin joined the two, according to Newsweek.

Newsweek did not identify the Israel diplomat, but Israeli media said it apparently was Gilon.

Newsweek, citing U.S. intelligence officials, said that Franklin on one occasion allegedly tried to hand over a classified U.S. policy document on Iran but that the Israeli diplomat refused to take it.

Maariv quoted Israeli sources as saying that Gilon did not take documents from Franklin but had frequent meetings with him.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment. The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon, told Maariv that Gilon went by the book and that "nothing was done under the table."

The New York Times reported today that government officials say Franklin had been cooperating with federal agents for several weeks and was preparing to lead them to contacts inside the Israeli government when word of the investigation, first reported by CBS News, was leaked late last week.

Yesterday, Israeli Cabinet minister Natan Sharansky said he believed the allegations might stem from an internal conflict between the Pentagon and the CIA.

"I hope it’s all a mistake or misunderstanding of some kind, maybe a rivalry between different bodies," Sharansky told Canadian Broadcasting Corp., singling out "the Pentagon and the CIA."


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Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. "

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