If you haven't been following the breaking scandal possibly involving neoconservative Department of Defense civilian officials, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel, and intelligence on Iran then it is time to start. CBS News first broke the story that there is an Israeli spy in the Pentagon being targeted by an FBI investigation.
With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.
The first suspected spy identified as a target of this investigation is DIA analyst Larry Franklin.
At the center of the investigation, sources said, is Lawrence A. Franklin, a career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who specializes in Iran and has served in the Air Force Reserve, rising to colonel. Early in the Bush administration, Franklin moved from the DIA to the Pentagon's policy branch headed by Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, where he continued his work on Iranian affairs.
Franklin works under William J. Luti in the heavily criticised Office of Special Plans (OSP). As head of OSP Luti, in turn, is under neoconservative Douglas Feith.
Since many of the neoconservatives are Jewish it helps to keep clear that Franklin is not Jewish.
Franklin is not Jewish, but he works alongside several Jewish officials, including Harold Rhode and Mike Rubin. Doug Feith is Jewish.
Perle, Feith, Wurmser, Shulsky, and Wolfowitz are Jews, while Luti, Hadley, Armitage, Rice, Rove, Card, Scowcroft, Fairbanks, and Powell are not.
Laura Rozen reported the spin on Franklin that Franklin thought he was just passing information to AIPAC to be passed on to the White House. However, that lame spin is seems exceedingly unlikely since the FBI first got interested in Franklin when they spotted him joining a lunch between an AIPAC lobbyist and an Israeli embassy official.
Sept. 6 issue - It was just a Washington lunch—one that the FBI happened to be monitoring. Nearly a year and a half ago, agents were monitoring a conversation between an Israeli Embassy official and a lobbyist for American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as part of a probe into possible Israeli spying. Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, in the description of one intelligence official, another American "walked in" to the lunch out of the blue. Agents at first didn't know who the man was. They were stunned to discover he was Larry Franklin, a desk officer with the Near East and South Asia office at the Pentagon.
It seems highly likely that Franklin knew who he was dealing with.
Multiple sources have told CNN that the investigation is well along, and one government official described the evidence against the suspect as a "slam dunk case."
The primary motive Israel has for spying on the United States government at this point is to assess and attempt to change US policy toward Iran and toward Israel's potential actions toward Iran.
Understanding details of the U.S. assessment of Iran's nuclear program or gaining inside knowledge of how America might react to a possible Israeli preemptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would be extremely valuable for the Jewish state, regional experts say.
The investigation is the latest embarrassing incident involving Pentagon employees. In June, federal investigators began administering polygraph examinations to civilian Pentagon employees to determine who may have disclosed classified information to Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile leader who was once a close ally of the Pentagon.
The linkage, if any, between the two leak investigations, remains unclear. But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.
The investigation of Franklin is part of a larger investigation that has supposedly been on-going for two years.
The probe also reaches beyond Franklin, including an investigation of whether more senior officials knew of the alleged document transfers, a law enforcement official said.
Franklin also was a key link between the Defense Department and Iraqi National Congress Leader Ahmed Chalabi, according to the officials and Chalabi aides.
Consider the irony here. In dealing with AIPAC and Israeli embassy personnel Franklin may have been motivated in part by his feelings of hostility toward the Iranian government. Yet Franklin also had dealings with the INC and Chalabi and Chalabi or other INC officials may have been passing US secrets on to Iran. What a mess.
Also, if Franklin has been a key link to Chalabi's organization then he was more important in the OSP than some reports are making him out to be.
On a separate but related note Laura Rozen also reports on how well connected Douglas Feith is and how a little knowledge of the history of the Ottoman Empire and of Iraq in the 1920s shows that the neoconservatives were naive to hope for a Hashemite restoration in Iraq. I've previously discussed the delusions of the neoconservative "Clean Break" plan for the Middle East.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 August 29 03:22 AM Elites Betrayal And Incompetence|