According to reporter Edwin Black, in a fascinating, must-read, report, we learn how the FBI came to manipulate Larry Franklin, a Pentagon Iran analyst, to assist in setting up a couple of AIPAC officials.
Apparently Franklin had provided information to some reporters about aggressive Iranian actions in Iraq. One of the reporters was Adam Ciralsky, who had worked at the CIA and departed, suing them for harrassment because of his connection to Israel and his Jewish background. The call was monitored by the FBI, and it so happened that David Szady, who was apparently one of the key individuals involved in the Ciralsky career hara kiri, was now head of the FBI counterintelligence division. Ouch!
So the FBI comes after Franklin, who has a disabled wife, 5 children, and a job that supported them all, and informs him that he will be charged with espionage because he revealed sensitive information in his call. Espionage means jail and no way to feed his family. Not helping matters is that apparently Franklin criticized American intelligence gathering in his comments and it was his belief in their failures that drove him to reach out to the press. Ouch!
Then the FBI apparently advised Franklin to help them develop a couple of operations in exchange for leniency. It gets a little convoluted here, but it seems the FBI was after Mr. Chalabi (who is currently running for office in Iraq). As a side result, one of the investigation’s targets was AIPAC. An initial attempt by Franklin to set up a couple of AIPAC officials fails. However, he tries again, this time feeding them supposedly confidential info about pending kidnappings and killings of Israelis who might be working in N. Iraq. It seems that the AIPAC people may have contacted the Israeli embassy to inform them about this information. Ouch!
At that point, the FBI raids AIPAC offices and takes files and computers belonging to these AIPAC officials and conveniently leak the story about the raid to CBS, including information about a “mole” conducting espionage on behalf of Israel. Pretty scummy, huh?
There you have it. Read the whole fascinating and ugly story here.
This situation is definitely having an impact on AIPAC and Jewish organizations in DC. Aside from the fact that there is a grand jury investigation going on regarding the actions of these two AIPAC officials, this story has been getting national media attention. Additionally, it seems to be having some impact on some of the Jewish community’s leadership in DC. How do we know this? Malcolm Hoenlein’s op-ed piece in Haaretz. Read it and see the damage already caused and that may be coming.
Here is some speculation by one of the better reporters on the case, Janine Zacharia of the Jerusalem Post, as to why AIPAC was targeted. Here is her original article from which Black got some of his material for his article.
Here is an interesting opinion piece by Laura Rozen. It’s a worthwhile analysis, although it only causes more nail-biting.
Finally, another must-read article is this one by Laura Rozen (by the way, the name made me think that Laura might be Jewlicious, but then I saw that she was born and raised in Kansas City. Are there Jews in Kansas City?) and Jason Vest where they give some great background and detail about the key players in this story. She also posits that all of this is fallout from Washington infighting about Iran and Iraq policy, not to mention Ahmed Chalabi. By the way, the Prospect is a “liberal” publication, so all you LGFers better read this stuff while holding your noses.