AIPAC OFFICIALS BREAK OFF FBI
TALKS TO HIRE LAWYERS
Mid-East Realities - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 4 Sept 04:
years in Washington the subject of the 'neocons'...the Jewish
neocons...the Jewish neocons and Israel...has been whispered, rumored,
occassionally partially outed, but rarely dissected in depth and never
in the mainstream media really directly focused upon and clearly
exposed. Washington is a corporate town of government
careerists, lobbyists, opportunists and power-maniacs; much of the
press is intertwined in one way or another with powerful pro-Israel
interests; much of the mainstream media has powerful pro-Israeli Jews
in key ownership or editorial positions like Blitzer at CNN, Crystal at
PBS, Zuckerman, Bronfman, Peretz, Perlman, Eisner; and the
multi-faceted Israeli/Jewish lobby has a reputation for
taking no prisoners and protecting/advancing its own.
are known realities to Washington insiders; but they creep into print
only once and awhile, now and then, here and there. Only with
the latest Israeli spy scandal that broke into public view on the CBS
Evening news last week has the focus on the Jewish Zionist neocons
(though they are not actually called that in print) been on
political and journalistic radar screen in a significant way; and even
so the two major parties and the two major candidates have continued to
avoid this highly-charged third-rail of Washington politics as
always. Yet, in a significant first, the Los Angeles Times yesterday, a week
after the latest Israeli spy scandal came into public view, went with
unusually candid story headlined: "Israel Has Long
Spied on U.S., Say Officials" -- a story though heavy on Israel
while light on American Jews (see MiddleEast.Org of course for
and other significant breaking stories with crucial background and
This then is
the overall context in which these three
articles with considerable details about the neocons, how they came to
be, what they are all about, and how they are linked to Israel and to
the latest Israeli spy scandal should be read and pondered.
And this is the context in which the FBI 'interviewing' and 'hard disk
copying' in the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) on Capitol Hill, the lead public organization in what we have
called for some time the Israeli/
/Jewish lobby, should be understood as
a potentially -- emphasis on the world potentially -- important
For there are those in Washington and in
the media who know very well that it was the Israelis and the Jewish
working in tandem, who worked relentlessly to push the U.S. into the
invasion and occupation of Iraq. And there are those who are well
aware that the Israelis and the Jewish neocons are now working in
push and cajole the U.S. to take on Iran, Syria, and all who stand in
the way of
their plans for the U.S. and Israel in partnership to control the
strategically, politically, and
* "Serving Two Flags - Neo-cons, Israel,
and the Bush
Administration" - Stephen Green in Counterpunch
* "Spy probe
scans neo-con's Israel ties" - Jim Lobe
in Asia Times
* "Israeli spy nest in
the U.S. – Ashcroft says: 'Don't
arrest them!' " - Justin Raimondo in
Serving Two Flags
Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush
By Stephen Green*
28, 2004]: Since 9-11, a small group of "neo- conservatives" in the
Administration have effectively gutted--they would say
reformed--traditional American foreign and security policy. Notable
features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of
unilateral force, and the undermining of the United Nations and the
principle instruments and institutions of international law....all in
the cause of fighting terrorism and promoting homeland security.
Some skeptics, noting the neo-cons' past
academic and professional associations, writings and public utterances,
have suggested that their underlying agenda is the alignment of U.S.
foreign and security policies with those of Ariel Sharon and the
Israeli right wing. The administration's new hard line on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict certainly suggests that, as perhaps does
the destruction, with U.S. soldiers and funds, of the military capacity
of Iraq, and the current belligerent neo-con campaign against the other
two countries which constitute a remaining counterforce to Israeli
military hegemony in the region--Iran and Syria.
Have the neo-conservatives--many of whom
are senior officials in the Defense Department, National Security
Council and Office of the Vice President--had dual agendas, while
professing to work for the internal security of the United States
against its terrorist enemies?
A review of the internal security
backgrounds of some of the best known among them strongly suggests the
Dr. Stephen Bryen and Colleagues
In April of 1979, Deputy Assistant
Attorney General Robert Keuch recommended in writing that Bryen, then a
staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, undergo a grand
jury hearing to establish the basis for a prosecution for espionage.
John Davitt, then Chief of the Justice Department's Internal Security
The evidence was strong. Bryen had been
overheard in the Madison Hotel Coffee Shop, offering classified
documents to an official of the Israeli Embassy in the presence of the
director of AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. It was
later determined that the Embassy official was Zvi Rafiah, the Mossad
station chief in Washington. Bryen refused to be poly-graphed by the
FBI on the purpose and details of the meeting; whereas the person who'd
witnessed it agreed to be poly-graphed and passed the test.
The Bureau also had testimony from a
second person, a staff member of the Foreign Relations Committee, that
she had witnessed Bryen in his Senate office with Rafiah, discussing
classified documents that were spread out on a table in front of an
open safe in which the documents were supposed to be secured. Not long
after this second witness came forward, Bryen's fingerprints were found
on classified documents he'd stated in writing to the FBI he'd never
had in his possession....the ones he'd allegedly offered to Rafiah.
Nevertheless, following the refusal of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to grant access by Justice
Department officials to files which were key to the investigation,
Keuch's recommendation for a grand jury hearing, and ultimately the
investigation itself, were shut down. This decision, taken by Philip
Heymann, Chief of Justice's Criminal Division, was a bitter
disappointment to Davitt and to Joel Lisker, the lead investigator on
the case, as expressed to this writer. A complicating factor in the
outcome was that Heymann was a former schoolmate and fellow U.S.
Supreme Court Clerk of Bryen's attorney, Nathan Lewin.
Bryen was asked to resign from his
Foreign Relations Committee post shortly before the investigation was
concluded in late 1979. For the following year and a half, he served as
Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs (JINSA), and provided consulting services to AIPAC.
In April, 1981, the FBI received an
application by the Defense Department for a Top Secret security
clearance for Dr. Bryen . Richard Perle, who had just been nominated as
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, was
proposing Bryen as his Deputy Assistant Secretary! Within six months,
with Perle pushing hard, Bryen received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive
compartmented information) and Top Secret-"NATO/COSMIC" clearances.
Loyalty, Patriotism and
The Bryen investigation became in fact
the most contentious issue in Perle's own confirmation hearings in
July, 1981. Under aggressive questioning from Sen. Jeremiah Denton,
Perle held his ground: "I consider Dr. Bryen to be an individual
impeccable integrity....I have the highest confidence in [his] loyalty,
patriotism and character."
Several years later in early 1988, Israel
was in the final stages of development of a prototype of its ground
based "Arrow" anti-ballistic missile. One element the program lacked
was "klystrons", small microwave amplifiers which are critical
components in the missile's high frequency, radar-based target
acquisition system which locks on to in-coming missiles. In 1988,
klystrons were among the most advanced developments in American weapons
research, and their export was of course strictly proscribed.
The DOD office involved in control of
defense technology exports was the Defense Technology
Security Administration (DTSA) within Richard Perle's ISP office. The
Director (and founder) of DTSA was Perle's Deputy, Dr. Stephen Bryen.
In May of 1988, Bryen sent a standard form to Richard Levine, a Navy
tech transfer official, informing him of intent to approve a license
for Varian Associates, Inc. of Beverly, Massachusetts to export to
Israel four klystrons. This was done without the usual consultations
with the tech transfer officials of the Army and Air Force, or ISA
(International Security Affairs) or DSAA (Defense Security Assistance
The answer from Levine was "no". He
opposed granting the license, and asked for a meeting on the matter of
the appropriate (above listed) offices. At the meeting, all of the
officials present opposed the license. Bryen responded by suggesting
that he go back to the Israelis to ask why these particular items were
needed for their defense. Later, after the Israeli Government came back
with what one DOD staffer described as "a little bullshit answer",
Bryen simply notified the meeting attendees that an acceptable answer
had been received, the license granted, and the klystrons released.
By now, however, the dogs were awake.
Then Assistant Secretary of Defense for ISA, (and now Deputy Secretary
of State) Richard Armitage sent Dr. Bryen a letter stating that the
State Department (which issues the export licenses) should be informed
of DOD's "uniformly negative" reaction to the export of klystrons to
Israel. Bryen did as instructed , and the license was withdrawn.
In July, Varian Associates became the
first U.S. corporation formally precluded from contracting with the
Defense Department. Two senior colleague in DOD who wish to remain
anonymous have confirmed that this attempt by Bryen to obtain klystrons
for his friends was not unusual, and was in fact "standard operating
procedure" for him, recalling numerous instances when U.S. companies
were denied licenses to export sensitive technology, only to learn
later that Israeli companies subsequently exported similar (U.S.
derived) weapons and technology to the intended customers/governments.
In late1988, Bryen resigned from his DOD post, and for a period worked
private sector with a variety of defense technology consulting firms.
Bryen and the China
In 1997, "Defense Week" reported
(05/27/97) that, ...." the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence reaffirmed
that U.S.- derived technology from the cancelled [Israeli] Lavi fighter
project is being used on China's new F-10 fighter." The following year,
"Jane's Intelligence Review" reported (11/01/98) the transfer by Israel
to China of the Phalcon airborne early warning and control system, the
Python air-combat missile, and the F-10 fighter aircraft, containing
"state-of-the-art U.S. electronics."
Concern about the continuing transfer of
advanced U.S. arms technology to the burgeoning Chinese military
program led, in the last months of the Clinton Administration, to the
creation of a Congressional consultative body called the United
States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The charter for
the "The China Commission", as it is commonly known, states that its
purpose is to...."monitor, investigate, and report to the Congress on
the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic
relationship between the United States and the Peoples Republic of
China." The charter also reflects an awareness of the problem of "back
door" technology leaks: "The Commission shall also take into account
patterns of trade and transfers through third countries to the extent
It was almost predictable that in the new
Bush Administration, Dr. Stephen Bryen would find his way to the China
Commission. In April 2001, with the support of Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) Bryen was
appointed a Member of the Commission by Speaker of the House Dennis
Hastert. Last August, his appointment was extended through December of
Informed that Bryen had been appointed to
the Commission, the reaction of one former
senior FBI counter-intelligence official was: "My God, that must mean
he has a "Q
clearance!" (A "Q" clearance, which must be approved by the Department
of Energy, is the designation for a Top Secret codeword clearance to
access nuclear technology.)
Consultant on Chaos
If Stephen Bryen is the military
technology guru in the neo-con pantheon, Michael Ledeen is currently
its leading theorist, historian, scholar and writer. It states in the
website of his consulting firm, Benador Associates, that he is "...one
of the world's leading authorities on intelligence, contemporary
history and international affairs" and that...."As Ted Koppel puts it,
'Michael Ledeen is a Renaissance man....in the tradition of
Machiavelli.'" Perhaps the following will add some color and texture to
In 1983, on the recommendation of Richard
Perle, Ledeen was hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on
terrorism. His immediate supervisor was the Principle Assistant
Secretary for International Security Affairs, Noel Koch. Early in their
work together, Koch noticed with concern Ledeen's habit of stopping by
in his (Koch's) outer office to read classified materials. When the two
of them took a trip to Italy, Koch learned from the CIA station there
that when Ledeen had lived in Rome previously, as correspondent for The
New Republic, he'd been carried in Agency files as an agent of
influence of a foreign government: Israel.
Some time after their return from the
trip, Ledeen approached his boss with a request for his assistance in
obtaining two highly classified CIA reports which he said were held by
the FBI. He'd hand written on a piece of paper the identifying "alpha
numeric designators". These identifiers were as highly classified as
the reports themselves....which raised in Koch's mind the question of
who had provided them to Ledeen if he hadn't the clearances to obtain
them himself. Koch immediately told his executive assistant that Ledeen
was to have no further access to classified materials in the office,
and Ledeen just ceased coming to "work".
In early 1986, however, Koch learned that
Ledeen had joined NSC as a consultant, and sufficiently concerned about
the internal security implications of the behavior of his former aide,
arranged to be interviewed by two FBI agents on the matter. After a two
hour debriefing, Koch was told that it was only Soviet military
intelligence penetration that interested the Bureau. The follow-on
interviews that were promised by the agents just never occurred.
Koch thought this strange, coming as it
did just months after the arrest of Naval intelligence analyst Jonathan
Pollard on charges of espionage for Israel. Frustrated, Koch wrote up
in detail the entire saga of Ledeen's DOD consultancy, and sent it to
the Office of Senator Charles Grassley, then a member of the Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence, which had oversight responsibility
for, inter alia, the FBI.
A former senior FBI counter-intelligence
official was surprised and somewhat skeptical, when told of Koch's
unsuccessful attempts to interest the Bureau in an investigation of
Ledeen, noting that in early 1986, the Justice Department was in fact
already engaged in several on-going, concurrent investigations of
Israeli espionage and theft of American military technology.
Machiavelli in Tel Aviv
Koch's belated attempts to draw official
attention to his former assistant were too late, in any event, for
within a very few weeks of leaving his DOD consultancy in late 1984,
Ledeen had found gainful (classified) employment at the National
Security Council (NSC). In fact, according to a now declassified
chronology prepared for the Senate/House Iran-
Contra investigation, within calendar 1984 Ledeen was already
suggesting to Oliver North, his new boss at NSC...." that Israeli
contacts might be useful in obtaining release of the U.S. hostages in
Lebanon." Perhaps significantly, that is the first entry in
the "Chronology of Events: U.S.- Iran Dialogue", dated November
18,1986, prepared for the Joint House-Senate Hearings in the
What is so striking about the
Ledeen-related documents which are part of the Iran-Contra Collection
of the National Security Archive, is how thoroughly the judgements of
Ledeen's colleagues at NSC mirrored, and validated, Noel Koch's
internal security concerns about his consultant.
- on April 9, 1985, NSC Middle East
analyst Donald Fortier wrote to National Security Advisor Robert
McFarlane that NSC staffers were agreed that Ledeen's role in the
scheme should be limited to carrying messages to Israeli Prime Minister
Shimon Peres regarding plans to cooperate with Israel on the crisis
within Iran, and specifically that he should not be entrusted to ask
Peres for detailed operational information;
- on June 6, 1985, Secretary of State George Shultz wrote to McFarlane
that, "Israel's record of dealings with Iran since the fall of the Shah
and during the hostage crisis [show] that Israel's agenda is not the
same as ours. Consequently doubt whether an intelligence relationship
such as what Ledeen has in mind would be one which we could fully rely
upon and it could seriously skew our own perception and analysis of the
- on 20 August, 1985, the Office of the
Undersecretary of Defense informed Ledeen by memorandum that his
security clearance had been downgraded from Top Secret-SCI to Secret.
<>- on 16 January, 1986, Oliver North
recommended to John Poindexter "for [the] security of the Iran
initiative" that Ledeen be asked to take periodic polygraph
- later in January, on the 24th, North
wrote to Poindexter of his suspicion that Ledeen, along with Adolph
Schwimmer and Manucher Ghorbanifar, might be making money personally on
the sale of arms to Iran, through Israel.
During the June 23-25, 1987 joint
hearings of the House and Senate select committees' investigation of
Iran-Contra, Noel Koch testified that he became suspicious when he
learned that the price which Ledeen had negotiated for the sale to the
Israeli Government of basic TOW missiles was $2,500 each.
Upon inquiring with his DOD colleagues,
he learned the lowest price the U.S. had ever received for the
sale of TOWs to a foreign government had been a previous sale to Israel
for $6,800 per copy. Koch, professing in his testimony that he and his
colleagues at DOD were not in favor of the sale to begin with,
determined that he--Koch--should renegotiate the $2,500 price so that
it could be defended by the "defense management system." In a
clandestine meeting on a Sunday in the first class lounge of the TWA
section of National Airport, Koch met over a cup of coffee with an
official from the Israeli purchasing mission in New York, and agreed on
a price of $4,500 per missile, nearly twice what Ledeen had
"negotiated" in Israel.
There are two possibilities here--one
would be a kickback, as suspected by his NSC colleagues, and the other
would be that Michael Ledeen was effectively negotiating for Israel,
not the U.S.
Like his friend Stephen Bryen (they've
long served together on the JINSA Board of Advisors) Ledeen has been
out of government service since the late1980s....until the present Bush
Administration. He, like Bryen, is presently a serving member on the
China Commission and, with the support of DOD Undersecretary for Policy
Douglas Feith, he
has since 2001 been employed as a consultant for the Office of Special
Plans OSP). Both involve the handling of classified materials and
require high-level security clearances.
The Principals: Perle,
Wolfowitz and Feith
One might wonder how, with security
histories like these, Messrs. Bryen and Ledeen have managed to get
second and third chances to return to government in highly classified
And the explanation is that they, along
with other like-minded neo-conservatives, have in the current Bush
Administration friends in very high places. In particular, Bryen and
Ledeen have been repeatedly boosted into defense/security posts by
former Defense Policy Council member and chairman Richard Perle (he
just quietly resigned his position), Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
As previously mentioned, Perle in 1981 as
DOD Assistant Secretary for International Security Policy (ISP) hired
Bryen as his Deputy. That same year, Wolfowitz as head of the State
Department Policy Planning Staff hired Ledeen as a Special Advisor. In
2001 Douglas Feith as DOD Under Secretary for Policy hired, or approved
the hiring of Ledeen as a consultant for the Office of Special Plans.
The principals have also assisted each
other down through the years. Frequently. In 1973 Richard Perle used
his (and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's) influence as a senior staff
member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to help Wolfowitz obtain
a job with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In 1982, Perle
hired Feith in ISP as his Special Counsel, and then as Deputy Assistant
Secretary for Negotiations Policy. In 2001, DOD Deputy Secretary
Wolfowitz helped Feith obtain his appointment as Undersecretary for
Policy. Feith then appointed Perle as Chairman of the Defense Policy
Board. In some cases, this mutual assistance carries risks, as for
instance when Perle's hiring of Bryen as his Deputy in ISP became an
extremely contentious issue in Perle's own Senate appointment hearings
as Assistant Secretary.
Every appointment/hiring listed above
involved classified work for which high-level security clearances and
associated background checks by the FBI were required. When the level
of the clearance is not above generic Top Secret, however, the results
of that background check are only seen by the hiring authority. And in
the event, if the appointee were Bryen or Ledeen and the hiring
authority were Perle, Wolfowitz or Feith, the appointee(s) need not
have worried about the findings of the background check. In the case of
Perle hiring Bryen as his deputy in 1981, for instance, documents
released in 1983 under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the
Department provided extraordinarily high clearances for Bryen without
having reviewed more than a small portion of his 1978-79 FBI
RICHARD PERLE: A HABIT OF
Perle came to Washington for the first
time in early 1969, at the age of 28, to work for a neo-con think tank
called the "Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy." Within
months, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson offered Perle a position on his
staff, working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And within
months after that--less than a year--Perle was embroiled in an affair
involving the leaking of a classified CIA report on alleged past Soviet
The leaker (and author of the report) was
CIA analyst David Sullivan, and the leakee was Richard Perle. CIA
Director Stansfield Turner was incensed at the unauthorized disclosure,
but before he could fire Sullivan, the latter quit. Turner urged Sen.
Jackson to fire Perle, but he was let off with a reprimand. Jackson
then added insult to injury by immediately hiring Sullivan to his
staff. Sullivan and Perle became close friends and co-conspirators, and
together established an informal right-wing network which they called
"the Madison Group," after their usual meeting place in--you might have
guessed--the Madison Hotel Coffee Shop.
<>In 1981, shortly before being appointed
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
(ISP)--with responsibility, inter alia, for monitoring of U.S.
defense technology exports, Richard Perle was paid a substantial
consulting fee by arms manufacturer Tamares, Ltd. of Israel. Shortly
after assuming that post, Perle wrote a letter to the Secretary of the
Army urging evaluation and purchase of 155 mm. shells manufactured by
Soltam, Ltd. After leaving the ISP job in 1987, he worked for Soltam.
Perle's second brush with the law occurred a year later in 1970. An FBI
wiretap authorized for the Israeli Embassy picked up Perle discussing
with an Embassy official classified information which he said had been
supplied to by a staff member on the National Security Council. An
NSC/FBI investigation was launched to identify the staff member, and
quickly focused upon Helmut Sonnenfeldt. The latter had been previously
investigated in 1967 while a staff member of the State Department's
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, for suspected unauthorized
transmission to an Israeli Government official of a classified document
concerning the commencement of the 1967 war in the Middle East.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ : A
WELL PLACED FRIEND
In 1973, in the dying days of the Nixon
Administration, Wolfowitz was recruited to work for the Arms Control
and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). There was a certain irony in the
appointment, for in the late 1960's, as a graduate student at the
University of Chicago, Wolfowitz had been a student and protege of
Albert Wohlstetter, an influential, vehement opponent of any form of
arms control or disarmament, vis a vis the Soviets. Wolfowitz also
brought to ACDA a strong attachment to Israel's security, and a certain
confusion about his obligation to U.S. national security.
In 1978, he was investigated for
providing a classified document on the proposed sale of U.S. weapons to
an Arab government, to an Israel Government official, through an AIPAC
intermediary. An inquiry was launched and dropped, however, and
Wolfowitz continued to work at ACDA until 1980.
In 1990, after a decade of work with the
State Department in Washington and abroad, Wolfowitz was brought into
DoD as Undersecretary for Policy by then Secretary of Defense Richard
Cheney. Two years later, in 1992, the first Bush Administration
launched a broad inter-departmental investigation into the export of
classified technology to China. O particular concern at the time was
the transfer to China by Israel of U.S. Patriot missiles and/or
technology. During that investigation, in a situation very reminiscent
of the Bryen/Varian Associates/klystrons affair two years earlier, the
Pentagon discovered that Wolfowitz's office was promoting the export to
Israel of advanced AIM-9M air-to-air missiles.
In this instance, the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, aware that Israel had already been caught selling the earlier
AIM 9-L version of the missile to China in violation of a written
agreement with the U.S. on arms re-sales, intervened to cancel the
proposed AIM (-M deal. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time was
General Colin Powell, currently Secretary of State.
Wolfowitz continued to serve as DoD
Undersecretary for Policy until 1993, well into the Clinton
Administration. After that, however, like most of the other prominent
neo-conservatives, he was relegated to trying to assist Israel from the
sidelines for the remainder of Clinton's two terms. In 1998, Wolfowitz
was a co-signer of a public letter to the President organized by the
"Project for the New American Century." The letter, citing Saddam
Hussein's continued possession of "weapons of mass destruction," argued
for military action to achieve regime change and demilitarization of
Iraq. Clinton wasn't impressed, but a more gullible fellow would soon
<>And indeed, when George W. Bush assumed
the Presidency in early 2001, Wolfowitz got his opportunity. Picked as
Donald Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary at DoD, he prevailed upon his boss
to appoint Douglas Feith as Undersecretary for Policy. On the day after
the destruction of the World Trade Center, September 12, Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz raised the possibility of an immediate attack on Iraq during
an emergency NSC meeting. The following day, Wolfowitz conducted the
Pentagon press briefing, and interpreted the
President's statement on "ending states who sponsor terrorism" as a
call for regime change in Iraq. Israel wasn't mentioned.
Hardliner, Security Risk
Bush's appointment of Douglas Feith as
DoD Undersecretary for Policy in early 2001 must have come as a
surprise, and a harbinger, even to conservative veterans of the Reagan
and George H.W. Bush Administration. Like Michael Ledeen, Feith is a
prolific writer and well-known radical conservative. Moreover,
he was not being hired as a DoD consultant, like Ledeen, but as the
third most senior United States Defense Department official. Feith was
certainly the first, and probably the last high Pentagon official to
have publicly opposed the Biological Weapons Convention (in 1986), the
Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (in 1988), the Chemical Weapons
Convention (in 1997), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (in 2000), and
all of the various Middle East Peace agreements, including Oslo (in
Even more revealing perhaps, had the
transition team known of it, was Feith's view of "technology
cooperation," as expressed in a 1992 Commentary article: "It is in the
interest of U.S. and Israel to remove needless impediments to
technological cooperation between them. Technologies in the hands of
responsible, friendly countries facing military threats, countries like
Israel, serve to deter aggression, enhance regional stability and
promote peace thereby."
What Douglas Feith had neglected to say,
in this last article, was that he thought that individuals could decide
on their own whether the sharing of classified information was
"technical cooperation," an unauthorized disclosure, or a violation of
U.S. Code 794c, the "Espionage Act."
Ten years prior to writing the Commentary
piece, Feith had made such a decision on his own. At the time, March of
1972, Feith was a Middle East analyst in the Near East and South Asian
Affairs section of the National Security Council. Two months before, in
January, Judge William Clark had replaced Richard Allen as National
Security Advisor, with the intention to clean house. A total of nine
NSC staff members were fired, including Feith, who'd only been with the
NSC for a year. But Feith was fired because he'd been the object of an
inquiry into whether he'd provided classified material to an official
of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The FBI had opened the inquiry.
And Clark, who had served in U.S. Army counterintelligence in the
1950's, took such matters very seriously.....more seriously,
apparently, than had Richard Allen.
Feith did not remain unemployed for long,
however. Richard Perle, who was in 1982 serving in the Pentagon as
Assistant secretary for International Security Policy, hired him on the
spot as his "Special Counsel," and then as his Deputy. Feith worked at
ISP until 1986, when he left government service to form a small but
influential law firm, then based in Israel.
In 2001, Douglas Feith returned to DoD as
Donald Rumsfeld's Undersecretary for Policy, and it was in his office
that "OSP", the Office of Special Plans, was created. It was OSP that
originated--some say from whole cloth--much of the intelligence that
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have used to justify the attack on Iraq, to
miss-plan the post-war reconstruction there, and then to point an
accusing finger at Iran and Syria.....all to the absolute delight of
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Reason for Concern
Many individuals with strong attachments
to foreign countries have served the U.S. Government with honor and
distinction, and will certainly do so in the future. The highest
officials in our executive and legislative branches should, however,
take great care when appointments are made to posts involving sensitive
national security matters. Appointees should be rejected who have
demonstrated, in their previous government service, a willingness to
sacrifice U.S. national security interests for those of another
country, or an inability to distinguish one from the other.
Stephen Green is a freelance
journalist living in Vermont who has written two important books about
the connections between the U.S. and Israel including
America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel."
probe scans neo-cons' Israel ties
By Jim Lobe
[Asia Times - 2
September]: The growing scandal over claims that a
Pentagon official passed highly classified secrets to a Zionist lobby
group appears to be part of a much broader set of Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) and Pentagon investigations of close collaboration between prominent US
neo-conservatives and Israel dating back some 30 years.
According to knowledgeable sources, who asked to not be identified, the
FBI has been intensively reviewing a series of past
counter-intelligence probes that were started against several
high-profile neo-cons, but which were never followed up with
prosecutions, to the great frustration of counter-intelligence
officers, in some cases.
Some of these past investigations involve top current officials,
including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; Under Secretary
of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, whose office appears to be the
focus of the most recently disclosed inquiry; and Richard Perle, who
resigned as Defense Policy Board (DPB) chairman last year.
All three were the subject of a lengthy investigative story by Stephen
Green, published by Counterpunch in February. Green is the author of
two books on US-Israeli relations, including Taking Sides:
America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, which relies
heavily on interviews with former Pentagon and counter-intelligence
At the same time, another Pentagon office concerned with the transfer
of sensitive military and dual-use technologies has been examining the
acquisition, modification and sales of key hi-tech military equipment
by Israel obtained from the US, in some cases with the help of
prominent neo-conservatives who were then serving in the government.
Some of that equipment has been sold by Israel - which in the past 20
years has become a top exporter of the world's most sophisticated
hi-tech information and weapons technology - or by Israeli middlemen,
to Russia, China and other potential US strategic rivals. Some of it
has also found its way onto the black market, where terrorist groups -
possibly including al-Qaeda - obtained bootlegged copies, according to
Of particular interest in that connection are derivatives of a powerful
case-management software called Promis that was produced by Inslaw, Inc
in the early 1980s and acquired by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency,
which then sold its own versions to other foreign intelligence agencies
in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe.
But these versions were modified with a "trap door" that permitted the
seller to spy on the buyers' own intelligence files, according to a
number of published reports.
A modified version of the software, which is used to monitor and track
files on a multitude of databases, is believed to have been acquired by
al-Qaeda on the black market in the late 1990s, possibly facilitating
the group's global banking and money-laundering schemes, according to a
Washington Times story of June 2001.
According to one source, Pentagon investigators believe it possible
that al-Qaeda used the software to spy on various US agencies that
could have detected or foiled the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The FBI is reportedly also involved in the Pentagon's investigation,
which is overseen by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for
International Technology Security John A "Jack" Shaw, with the explicit
support of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The latest incident is based on allegations that a Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) career officer, Larry Franklin - who was assigned in 2001
to work in a special office dealing with Iraq and Iran under Feith -
provided highly classified information, including a draft on US policy
towards Iran, to two staff members of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of Washington's most powerful lobby
groups. One or both of the recipients allegedly passed the material to
the Israeli Embassy.
Franklin has not commented on the allegation, and Israel and AIPAC have
strongly denied any involvement and say they are cooperating fully with
The office in which Franklin has worked since 2001 is dominated by
staunch neo-conservatives, including Feith himself. Headed by William
Luti, a retired navy officer who worked for DPB member Newt Gingrich
when he was speaker of the House of Representatives, it played a
central role in building the case for war in Iraq.
Part of the office's strategy included working closely with the Iraqi
National Congress (INC) led by now-disgraced exile Ahmad Chalabi, and
the DPB members in developing and selectively leaking intelligence
analyses that supported the now-discredited thesis that former Iraqi
president Saddam Hussein had close ties to al-Qaeda.
Feith's office enjoyed especially close links with Vice President Dick
Cheney's chief of staff, I Lewis Libby, to whom it "stovepiped" its
analyses without having them vetted by professional intelligence
analysts in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the DIA, or the
State Department Bureau for Intelligence of Research (INR).
Since the Iraq war, Feith's office has also lobbied hard within the US
government for a confrontational posture vis-a-vis Iran and Syria,
including actions aimed at destabilizing both governments - policies
which, in addition to the ousting of Saddam, have been strongly and
publicly urged by prominent, hardline neo-conservatives, such as Perle,
Feith and Perle's associate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI),
Michael Ledeen, among others.
Despite his status as a career officer, Franklin, who is an Iran
specialist, is considered both personally and ideologically close to
several other prominent neo-conservatives, who have also acted in
various consultancy roles at the Pentagon, including Ledeen and Harold
Rhode, who once described himself as Deputy Secretary of State Paul
Wolfowitz's chief adviser on Islam.
In December 2001, Rhode and Franklin met in Europe with a shadowy
Iranian arms dealer, Manichur Ghorbanifar, who, along with Ledeen,
played a central role in the arms-for-hostages deal involving the
Reagan administration, Israel and Iran in the mid-1980s that became
known as the "Iran-Contra Affair".
Ledeen set up the more recent meetings that apparently triggered the
FBI to launch its investigation, which has intensified in recent months
amid reports that Chalabi's INC, which has long been championed by the
neo-conservatives, has been passing sensitive intelligence to Iran.
Feith has long been an outspoken supporter of Israel's Likud Party, and
his former law partner Marc Zell has served as a spokesman in Israel
for the Jewish settler movement on the occupied West Bank. He, Perle
and several other like-minded hardliners participated in a task force
that called for then-Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to work
for the installation of a friendly government in Baghdad as a means of
permanently altering the balance of power in the Middle East in
Israel's favor, permitting it to abandon the Oslo peace process, which
Feith had publicly opposed.
Previously, Feith served as a Middle East analyst in the National
Security Council in the administration of former president Ronald
Reagan (1981-89), but was summarily removed from that position in March
1982 because he had been the object of a FBI inquiry into whether he
had provided classified material to an official of the Israeli Embassy
in Washington, according to Green's account.
But Perle, who was then serving as assistant secretary of defense for
international security policy, which, among other responsibilities, had
an important say in approving or denying licenses to export sensitive
military or dual-use technology abroad, hired Feith as his "special
counsel" and later as his deputy, where he served until 1986, when he
left for his law practice with Zell, who had by then moved to Israel.
Also serving under Perle during these years was Stephen Bryen, a former
staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the subject
of a major FBI investigation in the late 1970s for offering classified
documents to an Israeli intelligence officer in the presence of AIPAC's
director, according to Green's account, which is backed up by some 500
pages of investigation documents released under a Freedom of
Information request some 15 years ago.
Although political appointees decided against prosecution, Bryen was
reportedly asked to leave the committee and, until his appointment by
Perle in 1981, served as head of the Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA), a group dedicated to promoting strategic ties
between the US and Israel and one in which Perle, Feith and Ledeen have
long been active.
In his position as Perle's deputy, Bryen created the Defense Technology
Security Administration, which enforced regulations regarding
technology transfer to foreign countries.
During his tenure, according to one source with personal knowledge of
Bryen's work, "The US shut down transfers to Western Europe and Japan
[which were depicted as too ready to sell them to Moscow] and opened up
a back door to Israel." This is a pattern that became embarrassingly
evident after Perle left office and the current deputy secretary of
state, Richard Armitage, took over in 1987. Soon, Armitage was raising
serious questions about Bryen's approval of sensitive exports to Israel
without appropriate vetting by other agencies.
"It is in the interest of the US and Israel to remove needless
impediments to technological cooperation between them," Feith wrote in
"Commentary" in 1992. "Technologies in the hands of responsible,
friendly countries facing military threats, countries like Israel,
serve to deter aggression, enhance regional stability and promote peace
Perle, Ledeen, and Wolfowitz have also been the subject of FBI
inquiries, according to Green's account. In 1970, one year after he was
hired by Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, an FBI wiretap authorized for
the Israeli Embassy picked up Perle discussing classified information
with an embassy official, while Wolfowitz was investigated in 1978 for
providing a classified document on the proposed sale of a US weapons
system to an Arab government to an Israeli official via an AIPAC
In 1992, when he was serving as under secretary of defense for policy,
Pentagon officials looking into the unauthorized export of classified
technology to China found that Wolfowitz's office was promoting
Israel's export of advanced air-to-air missiles to Beijing in violation
of a written agreement with Washington on arms re-sales.
The FBI and the Pentagon are reportedly taking a new look at all of
these incidents and others, in the words of a New York Times story on
Sunday, to "get a better understanding of the relationships among
conservative officials with strong ties to Israel".
It would be a mistake to see Franklin as the chief target of the
current investigation, according to sources, but rather he should be
viewed as one piece of a much broader puzzle.
Israeli spy nest
in the U.S. – Ashcroft says: 'Don't arrest them!'
|by Justin Raimondo - 3 September 2004
Post is confirming the analysis, posted here two
days ago, that Israel's spy nest in the Pentagon involves a lot more
Franklin leaking the text of a draft presidential directive on Iran
to AIPAC employees, who then passed it on to Israel:
"For more than two years, the FBI has been
investigating whether classified intelligence has been passed to Israel
by the American Israel Political Action Committee, an influential U.S.
lobbying group, in a probe that extends beyond the case of Pentagon
employee Lawrence A. Franklin, according to senior U.S. officials and
"The counterintelligence probe, which is different
from a criminal investigation, focuses on a possible transfer of
intelligence more extensive than whether Franklin passed on a draft
presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran, the sources said.
The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the
National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of
communications, were also forwarded to Israel, they said."
The National Security
Agency is the eyes
and ears of the U.S. government: it's the source of all that
"chatter" we hear talked about as an indication of the terrorists'
plans to attack targets both here and abroad. The NSA monitors
communications of all kinds, collects, collates, and translates raw
data, then feeds it to intelligence professionals. It is, in short, a vital link in
the security chain that keeps us safe – to the extent that we are safe.
The news that it has been penetrated and compromised by a foreign power
should be ringing alarm bells throughout the U.S. government, but
instead the investigation is being blocked – by Attorney General John
Ashcroft. As the New York Sun reports:
"According to sources familiar with the
investigation, the U.S. district attorney in charge of the probe, Paul
McNulty, has ordered the FBI not to move forward with arrests that they
were prepared to make last Friday when the story broke on CNN and CBS.
'He put the brakes on it in order to look at it,' a source familiar
with the investigation told the Sun. 'To see what was there. Basically
the FBI wanted to start making arrests and McNulty said 'Woa, based on
what? Let's look at this before you do anything.'"
The Los Angeles Times, in a remarkably disingenuous
editorial – one that bears all the hallmarks of newly-appointed
editorial page editor Michael Kinsley's brand of know-it-all dogmatism
– wants "the evidence, please." Let them ask McNulty, a
who was in charge of the Justice Department transition
team. When the story broke, according to the Sun, Ashcroft
immediately put McNulty on the case. The man comes with
a bad record when it comes to going after spies, such a Robert P. Hanssen,
who was spared the death penalty due to the decision of the U.S.
Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. When it comes to
rounding up paintball-playing
McNulty is very
gung-ho: but not, apparently, when he's dealing with Israeli spies
in the Pentagon.
When McNulty went after the Paintball Conspirators, FBI
official Michael E. Rolince openly admitted that
the government had no real evidence that the "jihadists" were involved
in a plot against the United States: they were instead convicted of
violating the rarely-invoked Neutrality Act. Rolince justified the
prosecutions based on the Bushian principle of preemption:
"It is just no longer sound judgment to have people
that you believe have engaged in illegal activity and let them conduct
an attack before you do something about it. A lot of this is about
Yes, but not when it comes to Israel, which seems to
enjoy some special immunity not granted to others: preemption doesn't
apply in this case. But why not?
The author of the Times editorial, which
focuses exclusively on Franklin, hasn't been paying attention. Warren
Strobel's Knight-Ridder piece the other day made the same point as
this more recent report in the Washington Post, which avers:
"The investigation of Franklin is coincidental to the
broader FBI counterintelligence probe, which was already long underway
when Franklin came to the attention of investigators, U.S. Officials
and sources said."
If the authorities were watching AIPAC, and just
happened to stumble on Franklin's clumsy efforts to pass documents to
Israeli officials, the rest can be inferred: This is big, much
bigger than Franklin, if it required a systematic and ongoing
surveillance of AIPAC and Israeli government agents.
AIPAC and its allies, Israel's amen corner in the U.S.,
the wagons, denying everything, and – how's this for chutzpah?
– Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League is actually demanding an
investigation into who leaked the news of the investigation. No one has
a right to know that Israel, the recipient of $3 trillion
total U.S. "aid," is stabbing us in the back.
Who, us – spy on the United States, our
"closest ally"? It never happens, the Israelis and their American
defenders aver. But the two AIPAC employees who were first identified
in the Israeli media as being the principal suspects, Steven
Rosen and Keith Weissman, are sure acting guilty as hell. According
to news reports:
"They were interviewed by the FBI on Friday – the
same day news first broke of the existence of the yearlong
investigation – but the interviews were halted after the men said they
wanted a lawyer present before answering further questions, [AIPAC
attorney Nathan] Lewin said."
With the unbridled arrogance that is the hallmark of
Israel's American lobby, Lewin had the gall to add: "The FBI could
resume the interview. We have not heard from the FBI."
And he's hoping that he won't be hearing from them any
further, as John Ashcroft – a "born-again" Christian fundamentalist who
believes that the triumph of Israel will bring
on the Second Coming of Christ – quietly strangles the
But if Rosen and Weissman have nothing to hide, and are
completely innocent of charges that they acted as a conduit for
sensitive intelligence to be forwarded to Israel, then why do they need
lawyers to talk to the FBI? They are the ones making a federal
case out of this: too bad McNulty isn't doing the same.
The irony here is that any attempt to cover up Israel's
spy nest in the U.S. – a network not necessarily limited to AIPAC – is
bound to create the sort of anti-Semitism that Israel's defenders claim
to abhor. Their answer is that to even raise the charge of espionage
against AIPAC is anti-Semitic, in and of itself.
Facts may be stubborn things, but America's Likudniks
are even more so. It doesn't matter how much evidence is amassed
against AIPAC, Rosen, Weissman, et al., because, in their view, it's
all a Vast Anti-Semitic Conspiracy. The New Republic blog,
commenting on the reaction to the spy scandal among pro-Israel
Republican activists at the GOP national convention, described it as:
"A combination of media criticism and
conspiracy-theorizing (which I say with the proviso that not all
conspiracy theories are necessarily wrong). David Frum made the most
explicit form of the argument at an American Jewish Committee panel
this morning: The CBS story breaking the news led with allegations of
espionage, but as you read further, you realized the entire story hung
on a source that wasn't even a current government official. … Frum also
argued that the FBI investigation of Larry Franklin, the accused
Pentagon employee, had been ongoing for months and months and was on
the verge of fizzling out when news of the investigation leaked. The
timing, according to this view, suggests that the people driving the
investigation leaked word of it as a final act of desperation, and that
they were hoping to create problems for the Bush administration on the
eve of the Republican National Convention."
But this story has multiple sources: Frum's complaint
about the CBS report was outdated before he even uttered it. And so
what if Lesley Stahl's source wasn't a "current official": to neocon
"journalists" like Frum, officialdom is a fount of received wisdom, and
the Holy Grail of truth is to be found in a government press release.
These are the same people who complain that the real news, the
"good news" from Iraq, is never reported, due to the "antiwar bias" of
the news media.
But what's especially striking, and disturbing, about
Frum's apologia is that he shows no interest, not even the slightest
curiosity, in the facts, since none are mentioned in TNR's
summary of his remarks. He claims to know that the investigation –
which has been going on for over two years – was "on the verge of
fizzling out," but no source is given for this information, which runs
counter to the mainstream reporting that this was, as Laura Rozen put it, a
"controlled burn." Investigators were caught flat-footed by the CBS
report, and were forced to move quickly to interview suspects – and
there is speculation that the Israeli contacts they were most
interested in apprehending were alerted to the danger, and took the
opportunity to flee the country.
What is especially galling is the tone of outraged
indignation that AIPAC's defenders have affected in confronting the
the vehemently pro-Israel "media watchdog" that carps whenever anyone
looks at Ariel Sharon cross-eyed, has the nerve to argue that, since
the U.S. spies on Israel, they have the right to spy on us. A patriotic
American might reply: Hey, I paid
for that microphone. But, whatever….
The attitude is: how dare you even question us?!
But if law enforcement doesn't question them, and instead lets a
significant hole in our security stay wide open, who knows who or what
else may crawl through? Who knows what other moles may have burrowed
into the depths of America's national security apparatus, mining our
deepest secrets? If Rosen and Weissman, and their cohorts, will stop
obstructing the investigation, and simply agree to answer questions, with
or without legal counsel, they will quickly dispel the suspicion –
rampant, at present – that they have something to hide. After all, this
administration wasn't too concerned about providing legal counsel to
the thousands of Arabs rounded up since 9/11 – why are a couple of
Israeli spies any different?
If the 'A' in AIPAC stood for Arab, the assets,
headquarters, and very existence of the organization would have been
impounded and key personnel shipped off to Guantanamo, where the latest
Gitmo-ized interrogation techniques would soon persuade them to talk.
Lawyers? Hey, buddy, there's someone I want you to meet:
Ahmed, this is Lynndie
The Bush administration has known about this
investigation – of which the Franklin affair is just a footnote – for
over two years, according to the
latest from Reuters. Yet, addressing AIPAC in May, President Bush
called the group "a great asset to our country."
But if AIPAC is involved in the theft of U.S. government
secrets, how is it an "asset" to any country other than Israel?
The burgeoning spy scandal, which went from the theft of
a draft presidential directive to the appropriation of sensitive NSA
intercepts, is fast taking on the complexity and multi-layered levels
of meaning of a tale by John
LeCarre, one that is all too realistic. On
one level, it is the story of how a group of Israel Firsters
infiltrated the highest levels of policymaking and – utilizing a talent
for the well-told lie
and a penchant for forgery – steered us down the road to war with
Strobel reports that it isn't just Franklin and his foibles coming
"The bureau appears to be looking into other
controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which
also touch [deputy defense secretary for policy Douglas] Feith's
office. They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile
group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S.
intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie
Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting
that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African
country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for
war against Iraq."
"'The whole ball of wax' was how one U.S. official
privy to the briefings described the inquiry."
On another level, it is a pure spy story about the
penetration and subversion of what is arguably the single most valuable
asset in America's anti-terrorist arsenal: the NSA, which gathers
together the raw materials from which accurate intelligence is derived.
This, by the way, is not the first time the NSA's security has been
questioned: the story of Sibel
Edmonds, a former NSA translator, which I've covered
in several columns,
involves the existence of a mysterious unidentified organization –
which the FBI was watching – that tried to recruit her into not
translating certain intercepts. Edmonds was fired for blowing the
whistle on these shenanigans, and then muzzled by Ashcroft, who
declared that she couldn't say anything to the public about what she
knew due to reasons of overriding "national security." A judge backed
up Ashcroft's gag order, but you can read her
interview with Antiwar.com – and 60 Minutes, here
– and decide for yourself if something fishy is or isn't going on.
Where there's this much smoke, there has to be some real fire.
Why is the Justice Department "putting the brakes" on
an investigation involving the most sensitive intelligence matters?
Ashcroft wasn't hesitant when he went after these
other guys, nor were his prosecutors when it
came to withholding evidence, a practice that eventually got their
out. Why is he treating the AIPAC cabal with kid gloves? What gives?
I'll tell you what gives. A large body of evidence
suggests this counterintelligence investigation goes back before 9/11,
when U.S. government agencies first began to take notice of Israelis
turning up at U.S. government offices, and at government agents' homes,
in the guise of "art
students" trying to sell or promote their "work." In Salon,
by Christopher Ketcham suggested that this was an attempt by the
Israelis to blow smoke, and divert attention away from something else.
And now, it appears, the
"art students" are back….
It's just not possible to fully understand what exactly
is going on here without reference to my book, The
Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, which shows
that the U.S. government's concern with Israeli spies reached a spike
of apprehension in the months prior to the worst terrorist
attack in our history. A two year old investigation? Try four, or more.
One final note: The attempt to spin this as a political
attack on George W. Bush, emanating from the Democrats, is hogwash,
pure and simple. If Kerry says a word about this, I'll throw away my Nader
button (the one with Badnarik
on the back) and surrender myself to the narcotic effects of Kerry's
Kerry's best answer to the "Swift Boat" ads is a few
spots on "Spies in the Pentagon."Giving Zell Miller tit for tat may
lose him Florida, but gain him the Midwest, the South, and several key
border states in the bargain. I can hear some of the dialogue now:
"There are spies in the Pentagon – and they have friends
in high places…."
It won't happen, of course. If Kerry says anything at
all, it's likely to be a defense of AIPAC. He would much rather
bypass this golden opportunity to draw Republican blood on the national
security issue than offend a vociferous – and hypersensitive – special
interest group. That's one reason why – in spite of a wilting
"recovery" and an increasingly unpopular war – he's in danger of losing
Antiwar.com - September 3, 2004