Dual Loyalties

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jerusalem Post | Franklin: I gave Israel secret material

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Oct. 6, 2005 0:10 | Updated Oct. 6, 2005 0:26
Franklin: I gave Israel secret material

Former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin admitted in court Wednesday he passed classified information to Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon and to two former AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman.

Franklin agreed in court to testify against the two AIPAC officials and to prove that he had indeed passed classified information on to them, and had told them clearly this information was classified.

This was the first time that Israel was explicitly mentioned in the courtroom and that Gilon's name was disclosed. When asked by Judge T.S. Ellis whether he communicated classified information to a foreign official, Franklin replied: "I met occasionally with Naor Gilon from the Israeli embassy."

Adding that he had "assumed the Israeli government has already possessed" the information that Franklin gave Gilon, Franklin told the court that his impression was that Gilon gave him more information than he, Franklin, gave the Israeli official.

When asked to characterize his contact with Rosen and Weissman, Franklin said that he talked to them about his "frustration with a particular policy" and said that he had hoped that the two AIPAC officials would convey his views to senior officials in the National Security Council with whom they had good ties. "I asked them to use this information and to get it back channeled to the NSC," he said.

Franklin also pleaded guilty to the third charge of holding classified defense documents at his home in West Virginia without being authorized to do so.

The prosecutors did not say what prison term they will be asking for and the sentencing hearing was scheduled for January 20, 2006.

As part of his plea agreement with the prosecution Franklin will be allowed to serve his term at a minimum security detention camp and will also be allowed to keep part of his federal pension, which is assigned to his wife.

The indictment speaks of information garnered from two US government officials and relayed to three foreign officials, understood to be senior Israeli Embassy staffers.

JTA reported that one of the US government officials is David Satterfield, then deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and now the No. 2 man at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The other is Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton-era National Security Council staffer and now an analyst at the Brookings Institution.

One of the Israelis is Gilon, who until this summer was the chief political officer at the embassy.

The indictment lists charges involving incidents dating back to 1999, and is related to information on Iran and terrorist attacks in Central Asia and Saudi Arabia. For a period in 2004, Franklin worked covertly with the government and relayed allegedly classified information to Rosen and Weissman."

Bloomberg.com: U.S. - Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty to Passing U.S. State Secrets

Bloomberg.com: U.S.:
"Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty to Passing U.S. State Secrets
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- A former U.S. Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty to charges he gave classified military documents to unauthorized individuals.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to three counts. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the most serious of the charges. The government recommended his sentencing be delayed to let him complete his cooperation in the case.

``I divulged classified information to individuals unauthorized to receive it,'' Franklin said in court.

Franklin, a former colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, admitted handing over classified information to two former employees of the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. The men, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged in August with conspiring to disclose information they received form Franklin to foreign government officials.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, fired policy director Rosen and senior Iran analyst Weissman in April.

More than 80 classified documents were found during a search of Franklin's home in Kearneysville, West Virginia, and a search of his Pentagon office a year ago yielded the classified document containing the information he was accused of revealing.

The case is U.S. v. Franklin, 05cr225, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A trial has been scheduled for Sept. 9.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Cary O'Reilly in Washington at caryoreilly@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: October 5, 2005 16:20 EDT "