Personally, I agree with the sentiments already expressed here at DKos about the fact that the FBI wants to seize and "bury" classified information that had already been leaked to Jack Anderson.

But there is a very very very interesting other angle here.

When I read that the FBI wanted to look at papers going back some 50 years as part of the AIPAC investigation, my ears perked right up.  Jack Anderson was not a journalist involved in the Larry Franklin indictment.  But, before the indictment was ever handed down, there had been press reports that the Franklingate investigation had expanded far beyond the original crime.

I have written previous diaries about how the Franklin case has connections to other events, recent, and in past decades.  So, I've been looking into Jack Anderson and how he might have been in contact with AIPAC or Israeli intelligence sources.

What I have found is on the other side of the break...

I found this one quick reference in Anderson in this, shall we say, highly charged article in the Palestine Chronicle by an American ex-professor:
According to one journalist who used to work with columnist Jack Anderson, and spent 6 hours being interviewed by the FBI, the FBI has secured the co-operation of convicted Israeli spy and former Pentagon official, Lawrence Franklin, in the forthcoming trial of former top AIPAC leaders Rosen and Weissman. They are now trying to make a deal with the latter to reach the higher echelons of AIPAC power and the Federal Government. But the investigatory process of Israeli espionage is slow and tedious, precisely because it delves deep into the highest reaches of government and radiates out to a wide network of organizations in civil society. Given the big push by the Israelis for an imminent military attack on Iran, it is highly unlikely that the investigations will be able to undermine their drive for war.

At the Undernews blog, however, editor Sam Smith is skeptical:

The FBI claims to have information that AIPAC defendants Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman met with Anderson and/or one of his reporters and had shared classified information and that, further, Anderson or one of this reporters met with a related individual who could be considered a foreign intelligence agent. These purported contacts are said to go back to sometime in the early 1980s. This despite the fact that the AIPAC case involves a period beginning in 1999 when Anderson was in failing health.
The family reportedly contacted some 45 former staffers for Anderson and none could recall any significant contact with AIPAC.

This is a very good point, and it may be true that Anderson did not have significant contact with APAIC, but I believe that he DID have some very good sources in Israeli intelligence.  The FBI may be interested in how he came to know these sources: was it through AIPAC?  What information did they provide?  Was it classified?  How did the Israeli source get access to the information?  What was the Israeli source's involvement with the government?  Were Israelis being given classified information illegally by government sources?

There has been speculation for years about Anderson's sources.

For example, Paul Findley, in his book They Dare to Speak Out (1989), wrote of Anderson (courtesy of whatreallyhappened.com):

During the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, columnist Jack Anderson quoted "U.S. intelligence reports," actually supplied by the Israeli embassy, by the way of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that the PLO had mined the embassy to frustrate any rescue attempt by the United States.  The intelligence reports proved to be bogus.

And, according to an article by Trish Schuh which appeared in Counterpunch, "Journalist Jack Anderson wrote in 1972 about Israeli envoys delivering $50,000 a month to Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani to destabilize Iraq."  Where did he get such information?

This page has an interesting paragraph, with cites to a Sy Hersh story regarding a Jewish source for Anderson within the Kennedy White House:

To appease Jewish interest in Kennedy's White House, Myer Feldman, a liaison to the Jewish American community, was also afforded extraordinary access to "monitor all of the State Department and White House cable traffic on the Middle East." [HERSH, p. 99] Robert Kennedy, the president's brother, noted in an interview published in 1988 that Feldman's "major interest was Israel rather than the United States." [HERSH, p. 100] Feldman also helped write Kennedy speeches and was "an adviser to columnists Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson." [BLUMAY, C., 1992, p. 66]

Of course, none of this is definitive.  The only point of these cites is to show that Anderson did have some great Jewish and/or Israeli sources for some of his work.  But, the following example IS definitive, as well as the most interesting of all.  It comes from the very people involved in Iran-Contra, which Anderson played a major role in exposing, and can be found in the final independent counsel report (the Walsh Report) on Iran/Contra, from 1993:

137 Hill Note, 6/13/86, ANS 0001494. This note was not produced to the FBI, Independent Counsel, the Tower Commission or the Select Committees during 1986 or 1987.

Armacost formally warned Shultz about the continuing arms-for-hostages negotiations in an ``eyes only'' memorandum dated July 2, 1986. Armacost's memorandum, transmitted through Platt, told Shultz that the National Security Council was engaged in ``sub rosa provision of arms'' to Iran, that ``a usually detached (and heretofore skeptical[)] source'' was ``upbeat'' about the prospects for a hostage release in Lebanon the next day, and that word of this deal was getting out, through Israeli official Amiram Nir, to arms dealers who were involved as middlemen, to officials of another government and to newspaper columnist Jack Anderson.138 Like Oakley and Raphel, Armacost warned Shultz about both the wrongness of the policy and the inevitability of public disclosure.

[emphasis added]

This is a summary of a note in evidence during the investigation.  The note clearly indicates that an Israeli official named Amiram Nir was blabbing about the Iran arms deal to others, including Anderson.

So who is (actually, was) Amiram Nir? He was chief counterterrorism advisor to then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres.  He acted as Ollie North's counterpart in the Iran weapons deal.  Two months before Norht's trial was to start, Nir was killed in a plan crash in Mexico (some suspect sabotage).

Why would Nir have leaked the Iran deal to Anderson?  Revenge.  According to the Walsh Report:

While these financial disputes were brewing, the Reagan Administration decided to pursue a "second channel" into the Iranian parliament, cutting out Ghorbanifar, his Iranian contact and Nir. When Poindexter told Nir about the second channel in September 1986, Nir responded that making a switch would require paying off Ghorbanifar's $10 million debt to the financiers.
Nir also in mid-September warned CIA and NSC officials that Ghorbanifar needed $10 million or his creditors might expose the arms sales.

Once you find Anderson's link to Nir, it is easy to start to veering off into all sorts of territories, many which may be the province of the tin foil hatters.  For instance, Nir worked with Manuchar Ghorbanifar and Michael Ledeen in the Iran deal.  Ledeen is tied to all sorts of NeoCons, including those that were Larry Franklin's superiors at the Department of Defense, such as Harold Rhode, Bill Luti and Doug Feith.

Another connection: Franklin, Rhode, Ledeen met in Rome in 2001 with Ghorbanifar and head of the Italian spy agency SISM, Nicolo Pollari.  Once you start discussing Pollari, its hard not to start discussing the forged Niger documents.

Confused?  The tentacles reach pretty deep.  We should not be surprised that the FBI wants to look into what Anderson knew and who was providing him with information.  It would have been easier to talk to Nir, but Nir is (conveniently?) dead.

In summary, the fact that FBI wants those papers can be seen not just as cause for concern, but also may be cause for hope that the FBI is casting a wide net in its investigation.

Originally posted to LITBMueller on Wed Apr 19, 2006 at 08:08 AM PDT.

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