Think tank discovers after file released from an FOIA suit that an Israeli intelligence agent was a staffer for the Israel Lobby. Prosecutors recently dropped espionage charges from two high-level AIPAC staffers.
7 Nov 09 | Press TV
A newly declassified Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) file indicates that an Israeli intelligence agent was among the staff members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
“[F.B.I. Washington Field Office (W.F.O.)] files disclose that AIPAC is a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group staffed by U.S. citizens,” says the 13 August 1984 document—a secret communication from the W.F.O. to the F.B.I. director.
“W.F.O. files contain an unsubstantiated allegation that a member of the Israeli Intelligence Service was a staff member of AIPAC,” it adds.
The secret FBI document was declassified and handed over to the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP) after it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
IRMEP needed the documents to file a third amicus brief urging Judge T.S. Ellis not to drop the charges brought against AIPAC workers Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman under the 1917 Espionage Act.
On May 1, 2009, the Department of Justice dismissed the espionage charges against the two former AIPAC staffers.
Department of Defense Employee Col. Lawrence Franklin who was indicted along with the AIPAC workers in 2005, however, pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting that he had provided classified information about Iran to two AIPAC employees.
Apparently the Israeli agent had promised to facilitate the appointment of Re. Jane Harman (D-CA) as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in exchange for the information.
It is widely believed that the 1984 and 2005 espionage incidents were not isolated events.
As part of a defamation lawsuit he has launched against AIPAC, Rosen intends to show that obtaining and leveraging classified U.S. government information in the service of Israel is common practice at AIPAC.
He claims it was unfair for AIPAC to fire and smear him in the press after he was indicted on espionage charges in 2005. AIPAC lawyers, however, are hoping to get the case thrown out on technicalities before it goes to trial in early 2010.
AIPAC, considered the most powerful and connected lobbying group in Washington, is known for the influence that it holds over US foreign policy.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has also accused AIPAC of putting a great deal of pressure on politicians running for office who do not share AIPAC goals.
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