Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Thursday, June 02, 2005

American Israeli spies? By Bidisha�Banerjee

American Israeli spies? By Bidisha�Banerjee: "American Israeli spies?
By Bidisha Banerjee
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005, at 3:11 PM PT

Bloggers discuss an espionage scandal involving a pro-Israeli lobbying group; they also discuss Bob Woodward's relationship with Mark Felt and react to a report that male fiction readers rarely read female authors.

American Israeli spies?: According to Haaretz, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin helped the FBI out with a sting operation last year in which he told Keith Weissman, a top lobbyist at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that "Iranian agents were trying to capture Israeli civilians working in the Kurdish area in northern Iraq," and that the information was classified. Weissman and Steve Rosen, another AIPAC official, immediately notified the Israeli Embassy. The two are expected to be indicted under the Espionage Act. Franklin, who may have stopped cooperating with the government, is expected to be indicted in a separate case for allegedly turning over classified information.

Many bloggers are linking to this piece by the American Conservative's Justin Raimondo, who calls this "one of the biggest, most far-reaching espionage investigations since the Cold War," and insists that "the case involves not only the theft of vital U.S. secrets but a concerted effort to influence American foreign policy on behalf of a foreign power." Criticizing the U.S. media for ignoring this story, Sabbah's Blog's Haitham Sabbah, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, fulminates, "It is of note that AIPAC is paying to defend these two and denies any wrong doing." Journalist/filmmaker Sharon Cobb fervidly defends AIPAC, pulls apart this Dana Milbank piece in the Washington Post about the recent AIPAC convention, and describes her meeting with Steve Rosen in 2001: "I found him to be forthcoming and open. To tell you the truth, we didn't discuss espionage."

The Nation's David Corn writes, "I have no sympathy for these birds, but the FBI deliberately put them into a tough position, essentially plying them with false but alarming information regarding a life-and-death situation. … Yeah, Rosen and Weissman should have done nothing. But the feds dished up temptation that was hard to resist. They must have wanted these guys bad. I'm wondering why, and I'm wondering how a jury is going to see this.""