MER Comment
Yes indeed, this time AIPAC itself has been caught by the FBI in the spy game directly working with and coordinating with the Israelis. Two of AIPAC's most senior long-time operatives were forced to resign and may be indicted. But as usual the 'mainstream' media is asleep at the switch and afraid to take on issues relating to American Jews and Israel:

Franklin Indictments: Bigger Than Pollard Affair

by Jeffrey Steinberg

On June 13, a 20-page grand jury indictment--dated

May 26--against Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin, was

unsealed in Federal Court in Alexandria, Va., opening a

new page in a several-year-long espionage probe that now

promises to blow more circuits than the 1985 Jonathan

Pollard arrest and espionage conviction.

Some clues as to the scope of the network being

targetted in the Franklin probe were offered in the

indictment itself, which pointed to two other Pentagon

officials, two ``former'' senior AIPAC (American Israel

Public Affairs Committee) employees, a recently departed

political officer at the Israeli Embassy, and at least one

former senior Mossad official, as possible co-conspirators

with Franklin in passing classified U.S. intelligence to


Although the indictment did not name the suspected

co-conspirators, most of their identities have already

come out. For example, the two ex-AIPAC officials are

Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. For 27 years, Rosen was

AIPAC's director of international affairs, and Weissman

was, for years, AIPAC's top Iran expert. In April, both

men were fired by AIPAC, as part of a deal struck between

the Justice Department and the Israeli lobbying group,

brokered by Washington lawyer Nathan Lewin.

However, sources report that the deal negotiated by

Lewin may have already been broken by AIPAC. The agreement

was that: 1) the two men would be fired; 2) AIPAC would

vow to ``never do it again''; and 3) that AIPAC would not

provide any financial compensation or support to the two

ex-employees. However, AIPAC admits that they have paid

over $1 million in legal bills for Rosen and Weissman to

date. It is expected that the two men, who are listed as

``Co-Conspirators 1 and 2'' in the grand jury indictment,

will themselves be indicted before the end of June.

- `We Used To Own This Town' -

Associates of Rosen have reported that the former

AIPAC chief political operative has been seen around

Washington in a state of near-shock. He muttered to one

longtime friend, according to an eyewitness account, ``We

used to own this town, and now look at what's happened.''

Another U.S. intelligence source, intimately familiar with

the case, simply observed: ``Rosen {is} AIPAC.''

Ironically, Nathan Lewin's role as the legal

consultant to AIPAC may have had a certain blowback

effect. Lewin is remembered by many FBI and Justice

Department old hands as the lawyer who orchestrated the

coverup of the espionage probe of Dr. Steven Bryen,

in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lewin was hired as a

legal ``consultant'' to AIPAC as soon as word leaked out

in August 2004 of Franklin's legal troubles. According to

one source, however, that was ``late in the game,'' as the

FBI had bugged AIPAC's offices for over a year at the

time. In September and December 2004, the FBI raided

AIPAC's offices and confiscated computer drives,

documents, and other material. The second raid on the

semi-official Israel lobby's offices was no friendly

affair. FBI agents came in with guns drawn.

There are at least three Israelis under FBI and

Justice Department scrutiny in the Franklin case. They are

Naor Gilon, who recently departed from his post as

political counsellor at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

According to the grand jury indictment, Gilon had 15

meetings with Pentagon Iran desk officer Franklin in

2003-04. In a number of those meetings, according to the

indictment, Franklin passed along classified information.

Israeli news accounts say that Gilon and Franklin have

actually known each other since 1997, when Franklin, a

colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, was briefly

assigned to the Air Attache@aa's Office at the U.S. Embassy

in Tel Aviv. It was Franklin's second tour of duty in

Israel, according to one former Pentagon co-worker.

However, the tour was cut short, after Franklin was

repeatedly caught having unauthorized and unreported

meetings with Israeli military and intelligence officials.

In addition to Gilon, the FBI is also probing Uzi

Arad and Eran Lerman. Arad is a ``retired'' senior Mossad

officer who, at one time, served as the official liaison

to U.S. intelligence for the Israeli espionage service.

Arad is now the director of the Herzliya Center for

Interdisciplinary Studies, a leading Israeli national

security think-tank, which hosts a prestigious annual

international security conference.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 13, 2004, Gilon

telephoned Franklin at the Pentagon, and asked him to meet

with Arad. A week later, Franklin and Arad had lunch at

the Pentagon cafeteria.

Arad was interviewed a few months ago by the FBI

about his ties to Franklin, and Arad later explained to

Israeli media that he had met Franklin at the December

2003 Herzliya conference. He claimed he was merely

visiting the Pentagon civilian analyst, and was exchanging

non-classified academic papers with him.

Eran Lerman, the second ``ex'' Israeli intelligence

official under scrutiny, was a top military intelligence

analyst, who also attended the 2003 Herzliya gathering.

But there is much more to the Arad and Lerman angle

to Franklin. Both men have been described by one Israeli

source as prote@aage@aas of Rafi Eytan, the legendary

Mossad European station chief, who was in charge of the

special intelligence unit, Lekem, that ran U.S. citizen Jonathan

Pollard as an Israeli spy in the early-to-mid-1980s.

Furthermore, according to one U.S. intelligence source,

the probe into Arad and Lerman's activities has opened up

a ``parallel Mossad'' apparatus, that has been at

the center of a much broader ``soft'' espionage program,

targetting the United States, and this is an area that

U.S. counterintelligence officials are exploring with

great interest.

- The `X Committee' Revisited -

The indictment also made mention of two other Pentagon

officials. One unnamed official referred Rosen to

Franklin, to discuss Iran. The other unnamed official

attended the first face-to-face meeting between Franklin

and the AIPAC men, at which classified information was

provided by Franklin. While no public accounts have yet

named the two other Pentagon officials, two names that

have repeatedly been speculated on by experts familiar

with the probe are: Doug Feith, Franklin's boss and the


Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; and Harold

Rhode, a so-called ``Islamic'' expert, who was a close

advisor to then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and

served in the Office of Net Assessments, headed by Andrew


The indictment also noted that Franklin has solicited

help from Rosen to get a job at the National Security

Council. This has led to speculation that Elliott Abrams,

who headed the Mideast desk at the NSC during the first

Administration of President George W. Bush, was also

promoting Franklin.

While Pentagon officials like Feith and Wolfowitz

tried to distance themselves from Franklin, claiming he

was just a lowly desk officer, eyewitnesses have told this

news service that Franklin was a frequent participant in

``neo-cons only'' brown-bag lunch sessions in Feith's

office. Those sessions were reportedly also attended by

Franklin's immediate boss at the Near East-South Asia

policy office, William Luti. Luti, who came to the

Pentagon in mid-2001 from Vice President Dick Cheney's

office, frequently boasted that he was really working for

``Scooter,'' a reference to I. Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby,

Cheney's chief of staff and chief national security aide.

Libby also was, for 16 years, the lawyer for fugitive

swindler and Mossad money-man, Marc Rich.

Others who joined in the Feith sessions were

identified as: Richard Perle, who formerly headed the

Defense Policy Board, but was forced to resign; Abe

Shulsky, advisor to Luti, who headed the Office of Special

Plans, the hub of the Pentagon disinformation campaign to

justify the Iraq invasion of March 2003; and Harold Rhode,

the man suspected of being the other Pentagon participant

in the original meeting with Rosen and Franklin.

- Irangate Links -

Rhode's close ties to Franklin date back at least to

December 2001, when the two Pentagon civilians travelled

to Rome with Michael Ledeen, for three days of

meetings with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. A

pivotal figure in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal,

Ghorbanifar was denounced by the CIA as a pathological

liar, and was declared off limits for CIA Middle East

hands. But Ghorbanifar always remained a favorite of the

neo-cons, and Ledeen organized the December 2001 session

to reopen some of the old Irangate links, as part of his

crusade for ``regime change in Tehran.''

One former U.S. intelligence official assessed that

Franklin was used, among other tasks, to conduit

Ghorbanifar disinformation to Israel, so it could be

credibly ``shopped in'' to U.S. intelligence in a re-run

of the Ahmed Chalabi/Iraqi National Congress ``stove

pipe'' of disinformation to ``end users'' like Cheney and

other top hawkish policymakers.

But above all else, leading Pentagon officials, now

under suspicion in the Franklin affair, go back to the

original Pollard case as suspected members of the ``X

Committee,'' the group of Reagan-era national security

hawks, who were all under investigation as co-conspirators

of Pollard, but were never caught or prosecuted. In Spring

1988, {EIR} published a list of suspected members of the

``X Committee,'' provided by a source working with the

General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense (see

{Documentation}). Among the names on the list: Wolfowitz,

Feith, Perle, and Ledeen. All four men have now been

directly linked to the Franklin affair.

There is growing speculation that this time, the ``X

Committee'' is not going to get away with its perfidy. The

national security institutions of the United States often

work slowly, but on some occasions, they actually work.

And that is making for some very sleepless nights for

people like Dick Cheney, who have been covering the backs

of the ``X Committee'' for decades.