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United Press International

December 9, 2004

FBI steps up AIPAC probe

By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- An FBI investigation into alleged Israeli espionage against the United States and the possibility a pro-Israel lobby group was involved in passing classified U.S data to Tel Aviv has intensified because a confessed Pentagon spy has stopped cooperating with federal law enforcement officials, U.S. government sources said.

Larry Franklin, a Pentagon analyst in the Near East and South Asia office who worked for the Defense Department's Office of Special Plans confessed last August to federal agents he had held meetings with a contact from the Israeli government during which he passed a highly classified document on U.S. policy toward Iran, these sources said. The document advocated support for Iranian dissidents, covert actions to destabilize the Iranian government, arming opponents of the Islamic regime, propaganda broadcasts into Iran, and other programs, these sources said.

The FBI was also interested in finding out if Franklin was involved or could name any Pentagon colleagues who were involved in passing to Israel certain data about National Security Agency intercepts, these sources said.

Franklin was caught quite by accident last summer as part of a larger investigation, these sources said.

In 2001, the FBI discovered new, "massive" Israeli spying operations in the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey, said one former senior U.S. government official. The FBI began intensive surveillance on certain Israeli diplomats and other suspects and was videotaping Naor Gilon, chief of political affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, who was having lunch at a Washington hotel with two lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby group. Federal law enforcement officials said they were floored when Franklin came up to their table and sat down.

The FBI confronted Franklin in August 2004, and there seemed to be progress on the case, but after Franklin hired Washington lawyer Plato Cacheris, Franklin's cooperation abruptly ceased, federal law enforcement officials said. The turnabout apparently infuriated the FBI, former federal law enforcement officials said. Franklin could not be reached for comment.

Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief, who has good ties with law enforcement officials said, "The FBI was extremely displeased."

An FBI consultant told United Press International: "The FBI were hopping mad. The FBI had been kicked very hard in their macho. They are very, very macho."

On Dec. 1, FBI agents visited the AIPAC offices in Washington and seized the hard drives and files of Steven Rosen, director of research, and Keith Weissman, deputy director of foreign policy issues.

The FBI also served subpoenas on AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr, Managing Director Richard Fishman, Communications Director Renee Rothstein, and Research Director Raphael Danziger.

All are suspected of having acted as "cut outs" or intermediaries who passed highly sensitive U.S. data from high-level Pentagon and administration officials to Israel, said one former federal law enforcement official.

One current FBI consultant said Rosen's name had first been given to the FBI in 1986, along with 70 possible incidents of Israeli espionage against the United States. No action was taken against him, this source said. Rosen's attorney did not return phone calls.

AIPAC has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the affair. In a public statement, the group said its continuing access to the White House and senior administration officials would be "inconceivable...if any shred of evidence of disloyalty or even negligence on AIPAC's part" had been discovered.

At the time of Franklin's arrest, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, repeated his government's denials, saying on CNN: "I can tell you here, very authoritatively, very categorically, Israel does not spy on the United States."

Another Israeli government statement referred to America as "a deeply cherished ally."

But a former federal law enforcement official said Israeli spying against the United States had been "widespread" for many years, and that during the Cold War, Israeli penetration of U.S. operations was second "only to the Soviet Union."

"Few people realize that the Israeli Counterintelligence Desk at the Bureau was second in size only to the CI Soviet desk," he said.

A former very senior CIA counterintelligence official told UPI that in 1998-99, the CIA discovered an Israeli couple, who were subcontracted to a U.S. phone company, were working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

"They did incredible damage -- they got incredibly sensitive data, including key words identifying individuals or projects," this source said, adding he himself gave the case to the FBI.

Perhaps the most notorious Israeli operation was the recruitment of Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, who was convicted in U.S. federal court and sentenced to life in prison for selling military documents to Israel. UPI reported in 1987, quoting FBI officials, the FBI had traced stolen Pollard data up into the Eastern Bloc where it was traded in return for the Soviet Union raising the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.


. . . on this website
Our dossier on the Mossad
 Nasty surprise for some: FBI slaps Grand Jury subpoenas on officials of AIPAC, pro-Israel lobby group, over war secrets smuggled to Israel
Detroit Free Press, Oct 13, 2000 Spy charges false, man claims
At home with the family of NZ Mossad agent Ze'ev Barkan
Nov 2004: Fawning profile of Meir Dagan (born Huberman), current head of the Mossad
The 2004 New Zealand Mossad agents affair: Secrecy surrounds two Mossad agents when they reappear in Auckland court on NZ passport forgery charges | Police fear al Qaeda terrorists using NZ passports following arrest of 2 men in Thailand and seizure of fake NZ passports | The two Mossad agents charged with NZ passport offences photographed in Auckland reporting to police as part of bail conditions | agents  Two men believed by senior Government figures to be Israeli secret service agents have been arrested in Auckland trying to obtain a false New Zealand passport | One Mossad agent entered NZ on a fake Canadian passport | Mossad sending hostile New Zealand Message Via Asian-Based organisations after arrest of two agents | NZ government keeps up expensive surveillance of two Israeli agents | New Zealand jails two Mossad spies, prime minister Helen Clark (right) punishes Israel | Jewish pain in NZ, Australia | outrage at immediate mystery attack on Jewish gravestones in NZ | Govt fury at claims of bias from NZ Jewish Council | Israel's Knesset urged to probe bungled Mossad operation | Suspicions voiced that New Zealand Jews smashed up their own cemetery | Kiwi caper is worst of many Mossad blunders | Jailed gang leaders defer to Israelis jailed by NZ | Israeli autopsy on bungled Mossad operations in NZ: graves desecration was unplanned | NZ Foreign Minister Phil Goff likely to face Israel at UN debate | Uh-oh Jewish spies leave NZ after serving half their prison term; but their $100,000 donation to Cerebral Palsy Society (ordered by court) has not yet been paid | At home with the family of NZ Mossad agent Ze'ev Barkan | Mossad spy Eli Cara becomes top Israeli credit-card (Visa) executive.
Israel admits it assassinated Hamas official in Syria (we wonder what unlucky country's passport the Mossad hit men used)
Yet another fake-passport factory found in NZ
Janes Intelligence on the Pentagon's Israeli spies: A Mole called Mega | FBI turns up heat on AIPAC as confessed Pentagon spy has stopped cooperating
Alan Dershowitz The Harvard Law Professor who sat on an Israeli Assassination Target Review Panel
Was Nick Berg one of them? Jun 2004: Hundreds of Mossad agents in Iraq working to create a Kurdish counterforce against Baghdad |
Navy locks down King's Bay Submarine Base (Georgia) Friday after two Israeli "movers" are detained for questioning | Daniel Hopsicker reports: Israeli "movers" in submarine-base scare to be ... freed | Two Israelis held for deportation
Robert Fisk: Israeli Mossad and Shin Bet Associated with Prison Torture
May 19, 2004: BBC reports that Lebanon smashes Mossad assassination ring
May 13, 2004: The 1979 Mossad Assassination attempt on Ambassador John Dean: Dean papers with full taste of Mossad's evil opened at Jimmy Carter's Presidential Library
May 9, 2004: Israelis with fake docs arrested in Tennessee, 'how to fly' leaflet found; were seen to toss something else out of Ryder truck, FBI called in
May 1, 2004: Crown Prince Abdullah says Zionists behind Terror attacks in Saudi Arabia
A history of Mossad's overseas bungling

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