Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Jerusalem Post | AIPAC Spy Ring 4 subpoenaed

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Four AIPAC officials subpoenaed

FBI officials issued subpoenas to four senior officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday, requesting that they appear before a grand jury.

The FBI officials also seized computer files from two senior AIPAC employees. On their last visit in late August, FBI agents copied the hard drive of Steve Rosen, the director of foreign policy issues at the lobby.

It was not clear if the four AIPAC officials who have been subpoenaed will be questioned as witnesses in the probe of a Pentagon official -- who is suspected of passing secret information to AIPAC officials -- or if they will face questioning regarding other activities by the group that are being investigated by the FBI.

What precisely the FBI is investigating has been muddled since initial reports in late August and early September that the FBI was investigating whether a mid-level Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, passed information from a secret administration planning document on Iran to the lobby.

It was later learned that the FBI had been monitoring AIPAC for years before Franklin even appeared on the scene.

The Washington Post reported earlier this year that AIPAC has been the subject of a two-year FBI counterintelligence probe including whether highly classified material from the top-secret National Security Agency was forwarded by the lobby to Israel.

Since September, FBI officials have continued to quietly monitor AIPAC officials and have questioned Pentagon officials as part of its investigation. The FBI focused its initial probe on two AIPAC officials -- Rosen and Keith Weissman, a Middle East analyst with the lobby.

No charges have been filed against any AIPAC or Pentagon employees, and AIPAC continues to deny any wrongdoing.

"AIPAC learned in August that the FBI was investigating two AIPAC employees when the authorities visited the AIPAC offices and requested and obtained computer files related to these two employees," AIPAC said in a statement released late Wednesday.

"Today, the FBI returned and requested and obtained additional files relating to the same two AIPAC staff members and delivered subpoenas requiring the appearance of four senior AIPAC staff before a grand jury."

"AIPAC has done nothing wrong. Neither AIPAC nor any member of our staff has broken any law. We are fully cooperating with the governmental authorities. We believe any court of law or grand jury will conclude that AIPAC employees have always acted legally, properly and appropriately," the statement added.

A spokesman for the group, Josh Block, said he had no further comment.

Reports of an investigation into AIPAC, while damaging to the lobby's reputation, sparked an outpouring of support by members who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization."