Dual Loyalties

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Epoch Times | Pro-Israel AIPAC Fires 2 Involved in Spy Probe

The Epoch Times | Pro-Israel US Group Fires 2 Involved in Spy Probe: "Pro-Israel US Group Fires 2 Involved in Spy Probe

Reuters: Apr 21, 2005
WASHINGTON - The pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC has dismissed two senior employees involved in a federal probe into whether secrets on Iran were passed to Israel, sources familiar with the issue said Thursday.
The decision marked a shift in the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee's earlier defense of the two employees- policy director Steve Rosen and senior analyst Keith Weissman.

"The action that AIPAC has taken was done in consultation with counsel after careful consideration of recently learned information and the conduct AIPAC expects of its employees," AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton said.

Dorton declined to confirm that the two were fired or to comment on the investigation, but sources close to the organization said Rosen and Weissman were both dismissed in recent days.

Lawyers for the Rosen and Weissman said two had acted properly.

"Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman have not violated any U.S. law or AIPAC policy. Contrary to press accounts, they have never solicited, received, or passed on any classified documents. They carried out their job responsibilities solely to serve AIPAC's goal of strengthening the US-Israel relationship," their attorneys, Abbe Lowell and John Nassikas, said in a joint statement.

Dorton said the statement issued on behalf of Rosen and Weissman "represents solely their view of the facts."

The federal investigation was publicly disclosed last August, and has focused on whether Defense Department analyst Lawrence Franklin passed secret documents about Iran to Israeli intelligence through AIPAC staff members.

No charges have been brought in the investigation, which remains open.

AIPAC initially defended its employees after the probe was disclosed. It issued a statement saying: "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."

Dorton declined to repeat AIPAC's earlier statements on the investigation.

Several sources said criminal charges stemming from the case are not imminent.

The FBI has visited AIPAC's offices at least twice as part of the investigation. They questioned Rosen and Weissman and copied a computer drive. They came back a second time last fall.

So far, four AIPAC employees- not including Rosen and Weissman- have appeared before a federal grand jury. That appearance took place in January.

Israel has denied spying on its main ally. A spokesman for the Israeli embassy had no immediate comment."

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