Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

AIPAC Spy Ring Probe More Than 2 Years Old (washingtonpost.com)

Leak Probe More Than 2 Years Old (washingtonpost.com): "Leak Probe More Than 2 Years Old
Pro-Israel Group's Possible Role at Issue

By Susan Schmidt and Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 2, 2004; Page A06

For more than two years, the FBI has been investigating whether classified intelligence has been passed to Israel by the American Israel Political Action Committee, an influential U.S. lobbying group, in a probe that extends beyond the case of Pentagon employee Lawrence A. Franklin, according to senior U.S. officials and other sources.

The counterintelligence probe, which is different from a criminal investigation, focuses on a possible transfer of intelligence more extensive than whether Franklin passed on a draft presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran, the sources said. The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of communications, were also forwarded to Israel, they said.

Israel said the characterization of the probe is speculative. "We are aware of all the speculation, but that is all it is. We have not heard anything official, and U.S.-Israeli relations remain as strong as ever and, as far as we are concerned, it's business as usual," said David Siegel, spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

AIPAC has forcefully denied that any of its personnel received classified information.

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, were apprised of the FBI counterintelligence investigation of AIPAC as a possible conduit for information to Israel more than two years ago, a senior U.S. official said late yesterday. That official and other sources would discuss the investigation only on the condition of anonymity because it involves classified information and is highly sensitive.

The investigation of Franklin is coincidental to the broader FBI counterintelligence probe, which was already long underway when Franklin came to the attention of investigators, U.S. officials and sources said. Franklin, a career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who specializes in Iran, is suspected of passing the proposed directive on Iran to AIPAC, officials said, which may have forwarded it to Israel. According to friends and colleagues, Franklin spent time in Israel, including during duty in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, in which he served as a specialist in foreign political-military affairs. Franklin now works for Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy.

Reports on the investigation have baffled foreign policy analysts and U.S. officials because the Bush administration and the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon already cooperate on intelligence matters and share policy views. Despite some rocky moments, the relationship has been among the United States' closest in both policy and intelligence sharing since Israel was founded almost six decades ago.

AIPAC has been one of the most active advocates for Israeli interests in the United States and a central element in fostering that relationship. Its lobbyists maintain close relations with officials at the highest levels of both governments.

Among the many unanswered questions in the case, sources familiar with it said, is whether a U.S. official with access to the intelligence volunteered it, or whether allies of Israel in the United States sought intelligence to pass on to Israel.

In the Franklin probe, a law enforcement official said the government does not expect to bring charges against anyone this week or next. U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty in Northern Virginia, whose office is handling the case, is continuing to examine the evidence gathered by the FBI, the official said. Officials have said Franklin is cooperating with the authorities. Attempts to reach him at his office and home over several days have been unsuccessful.

The FBI's counterintelligence investigation was underway for some time before the Franklin case was brought to the U.S. attorney's office, which happened fairly recently, according to a source knowledgeable about the case.

FBI counterintelligence investigations often involve wiretapping and other forms of surveillance and can last years. They differ from criminal investigations because the goal is to obtain information about foreign agents or terrorists without necessarily seeking criminal charges. Counterintelligence agents previously were limited in sharing information with the FBI's criminal division, but they now do so more routinely as a result of a decision two years ago by a secret intelligence court and the 2001 passage of the USA Patriot Act.

Lawyer Abbe Lowell, who is representing several AIPAC employees including AIPAC's policy director, Steve Rosen, declined to comment on a report in the Jerusalem Post that the FBI had copied Rosen's computer hard drive. He also would not say whether AIPAC officials have been told that they are subjects or targets of the FBI probe.

But a source close to AIPAC said that the FBI has interviewed numerous AIPAC officials in recent days, among them Rosen and Middle East analyst Keith Weissman, who the source said were interviewed on Friday. They and other AIPAC officials are cooperating in the probe and have turned over materials sought by the bureau, the source said.

AIPAC's attorney, Nathan Lewin, did not return calls seeking comment yesterday. Josh Bloc, a spokesman for the group, referred to a statement AIPAC issued Friday, when the first allegations surfaced in the news media about an FBI investigation involving Franklin and AIPAC.

"AIPAC has learned that the government is investigating an employee of the Department of Defense for possible violations in handling confidential information," the statement said. "Any allegation of criminal conduct by AIPAC or our employees is false and baseless. Neither AIPAC nor any of its employees has violated any laws or rules, nor has AIPAC or its employees ever received information they believed was secret or classified."

Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks contributed to this report."

Asia Times -Veteran neo-con adviser moves on Iran

Asia Times -Veteran neo-con adviser moves on Iran: "Veteran neo-con advisor moves on Iran
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - When The Washington Post published a list of the people whom Karl Rove, President George W Bush's closest advisor, regularly consults for advice outside the administration, foreign policy veterans were shocked when Michael Ledeen popped up as the only full-time international affairs analyst.

"The two met after Bush's election," the Post reported cheerfully, quoting Ledeen about Rove's request that "any time you have a good idea, tell me". "More than once, Ledeen has seen his ideas, faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric," noted the newspaper.

"When I saw that, I couldn't believe it," said one retired senior diplomat. "But then again, with this administration, it seemed frighteningly plausible."

Michael A Ledeen, resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works closely with the better-known former chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle, has been a fixture of Washington's neo-conservative community for more than 20 years. But he is now out front, in a public campaign for the United States to confront Iran, warning that Tehran will cause Washington problems in both Iraq and Afghanistan and that "the mullahs are determined to obliterate Israel".

"We are now engaged in a regional struggle in the Middle East, and the Iranian tyrants are the keystone of the terror network," he wrote in Monday's Post. "Far more than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the defeat of the mullahcracy and the triumph of freedom in Tehran would be a truly historic event and an enormous blow to the terrorists."

Along with Morris Amitay, a former top lobbyist for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Ledeen has already co-founded a new group, called the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI), which is pressing Congress to approve a pending bill that would, among other things, provide some US$50 million in aid to both exile groups and opposition forces in Iran.

To Ledeen, whose own contacts with the mullahs in the Iran-Contra affair 15 years ago remain the source of some mystery, Iran is "the mother of modern terrorism". And terrorism has been Ledeen's bread and butter since at least the late 1970s, when he consulted for Italian military intelligence, which in turn enabled him to expose Billy Carter's dealings with the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya to the great satisfaction of Republicans, who were revving up their campaign against Billy's brother, then president Jimmy Carter.

Ledeen's right-wing Italian connections - including alleged ties to the P-2 Masonic Lodge that rocked Italy in the early 1980s - have long been a source of speculation and intrigue, but he returned to Washington in 1981 as "anti-terrorism" advisor to the new secretary of state, Al Haig.

Over the next several years, Ledeen used his position as consultant to Haig, the Pentagon and the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan to boost the notion of a global terrorist conspiracy based in the Kremlin, whose KGB pulled the strings of all of the world's key terrorist groups, especially in the Middle East.

He was a heavy promoter of the thesis that it was the KGB that was behind the 1981 attempted assassination by Turkish right-winger, Mehmet Ali Agca, of Pope John Paul II, a view he continues to expound today and which also helps explain his contempt for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whose analysts never accepted the "Bulgarian Connection", as it was called.

In the mid-1980s, when Ledeen was working for the National Security Council, he tangled with the CIA again over his efforts with Israeli spy David Kimche to gain the release of US hostages in Beirut through an Iranian arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, in the opening stages of what would become the Iran-Contra affair.

But Ghorbanifar did not come through. Despite Ledeen's assessment of the middleman as "one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known", he flunked four lie detector tests administered by the CIA, which had long warned that the Iranian "should be regarded as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance".

Undaunted and untouched by the Iran-Contra investigation, Ledeen recorded his experience in Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair, one of more than 10 books he has written on US foreign policy, de Tocqueville, Machiavelli and terrorism, the latest of which is titled The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We'll Win.

Ledeen has been no less prolific in his organizational work, although, besides AEI - where he works with fellow foreign policy neo-cons Perle, former United Nations ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Joshua Muravchik and Reuel Marc Gerecht - his main institutional forum over the past 25 years has been the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA), an activist group that promotes a strategic alliance between the United States and Israel.
He has also served on the board of the US Committee for a Free Lebanon and has taken an organizing role in CDI. His co-founder there, Amitay, also works for JINSA.

He is also close to key figures in the administration, particularly Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, whose pro-Likud politics he largely shares; Vice President Dick Cheney's powerful chief of staff, I Lewis Libby; and Elliott Abrams, the director for the Near East on the National Security Council. To that list can now apparently be added Rove, who is as close to Bush as it is possible to get.

Throughout his career, Ledeen has insisted that war and violence are integral parts of human nature and derided the notion that peace can be negotiated between two nations. He was a fierce opponent of the Oslo peace process. "I don't know of a case in history where peace has been accomplished in any way other than one side winning a war [and] imposing terms on the other side," he said two years ago.

He also has expressed little faith in traditional US allies, notably in "Old Europe", which he spent much of the 1980s attacking for being insufficiently anti-Soviet. As Washington moved toward war in Iraq, for example, he even questioned whether France and Germany were in league with al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

"The Franco-German strategy was based on using Arab and Islamic extremism and terrorism as the weapon of choice, and the United Nations as the straitjacket for blocking a decisive response from the United States," he wrote, suggesting three weeks later, as the US offensive stalled on its way to Baghdad, that France and Germany be treated as "strategic enemies".

For Ledeen, Iraq was only the beginning of the broader struggle against the "terror masters". "As soon as we land in Iraq, we're going to face the whole terrorist network," he told an interviewer in March. "Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia are the big four, and then there's Libya." "You can't solve all problems I grant that," he told the BBC. "I mean, I wrote a book about Machiavelli, and I know the struggle against evil is going to go forever."

BBC: Michael Ledeen advisor to Carl Rove

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Panorama | Michael Ledeen: "Michael Ledeen

Published author, member of a right wing think tank, scholar and writer.
Michael Ledeen has been branded an 'ultra neo-conservative' and is seen by his critics as the most sinister and radical of them all.

He is a scholar at the neo-conservative think tank The American Enterprise Institute, which also counts the former chair of Pentagon Defence Policy Board Richard Perle among its members.

He also writes regularly for American Spectator magazine.

A former Rome Correspondent for the New Republic newspaper, Ledeen first rose to political prominence as a member of the National Security Council during Ronald Reagan's reign.


But it was in 1985, that he became a well-known figure in the US when his Israeli intelligence contacts were used to help broker the illegal Iran/contra rebel affair - a move was aimed at destablising the left-wing government in Nicaragua.

However, he does say that he didn't approve of the final deal in that affair.

Prof Ledeen is also a student of Machiavelli and has written a book about the Renaissance philosopher whose name has become synonymous with strong and brutal governments.

He is also the author of The War Against the Terror Masters, which claims that America must topple the regimes of the terror masters such as Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia to eliminate the threat of terrorism.

Prof Ledeen is also believed to have the ear of the White House's current Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and has regular conversations with him.

His view on the war on terror is clear, he said: "Iraq is just one battle in a larger war, bringing down the regime in Iran is the central act, because Iran is the world's most dangerous terrorist country.""