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The FBI is probing an effort by two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to disclose classified information to the New York Times.  This appears to have been part of an effort to cultivate Times reporters in order to selectively leak classified Iran WMD documents.

Larry Franklin, a former Iran desk officer at the Pentagon, recently pleaded guilty to trading classified papers with Israeli intelligence officers and employees at AIPAC.  Two AIPAC employees accused of working with Franklin are now being tried in federal court in Alexandria, VA.

This prosecution follows the much publicized scandal involving ex-NYT reporter, Judy Miller, as the conduit of false information about Iraq WMD.

The Times is burying this story breaking today at the bottom of its on-line National page.


In a short article in its on-line edition, the NYT is reporting that Times staff have been questioned by federal investigators in recent days about efforts by AIPAC employees to leak classified documents.

Two NYT reporters were approached by AIPAC employees with classified documents.  Larry Franklin, a former Iran desk officer at the Pentagon Office of Special Plans(OSP), was recently convicted of trading secret documents with Israeli intelligence officers and representatives of AIPAC in Washington, DC.

This raises a question about the nature of the documents. Was this the classified material that Franklin himself had salted into Pentagon files at the behest of his handler, the Mossad Chief of Station at the Israeli Embassy in DC?  
The Franklin indictment states that the former DoD officer incorporated changes suggested by a foreign intelligence officer into douments on Iran he was preparing for DoD.
See, also see Franklin Indictment, pp 23-24, para 6. ("FO3" is Naor Gilon, the former Mossad chief who fled the country after word of the FBI's investigation into Franklin and AIPAC was first leaked during the summer of 2004.)

Today's NYT report is extracted below:

2 Times Reporters Queried in Federal Investigation

Published: February 2, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 -- Federal agents contacted two reporters from The New York Times on Wednesday seeking information about a former Pentagon official and two representatives of a pro-Israel lobbying group who have been at the center of a criminal investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

The requests were made to David S. Cloud and Steven R. Weisman, reporters in The Times's Washington bureau. Mr. Cloud was asked about possible contacts he had in the spring of 2003 with representatives of the lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. At the time, Mr. Cloud was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal.


A government official who has been briefed on the matter said that agents had contacted reporters from several news organizations.

The agents, the official said, are trying to determine whether reporters received national security information intended to influence their reporting on the Middle East.


The requests follow the Jan. 23 sentencing of Lawrence A. Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst and expert on Iran. Mr. Franklin's sentencing, to a term of more than 12 years after a guilty plea, refocused the case on two former Aipac officials, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who are scheduled to go on trial in April. Each has pleaded not guilty.

If this is what it appears to be, here is additional proof of Track Two of the effort by a neocon cabal and Israeli intelligence to plant false WMD data with the intent of driving the United States into an expanding war in the Middle-East.

- Mark

Originally posted to leveymg on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 11:00 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let the Daily Kos fireworks begin... (none)

    Thank you John Kerry

    by diplomatic on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 11:09:47 AM PST

  •  thanks for update (none)
    I have seen very little in the press recently on this...
  •  David Cloud (none)
    Is the reporter who received the leak about the INR memo in October 2003 (although his article on it was actually not very WH friendly).

    I'm not sure this would constitute a WMD case, though. I think a lot of the info Franklin was dealing was just internal strategy documents. The neocons like leaking (to the NYT, of course), to pre-empt further policy discussions. Bolton (through Judy) was a master at it. They basically leak something that is still under debate as finished policy and either the admin has to backtrack embarrasingly or accept the new policy.

    One more question. Are we sure the "former Pentagon official" is Franklin? Any chance it's Feith?

    This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

    by emptywheel on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 11:13:41 AM PST

    •  Thanks for the info re: Cloud (none)
      I will have to dig that article up, or perhaps you can post a link.

      Franklin was working on Iran WMD issues, and discussed them extensively with Israeli intelligence officers, as the indioctment makes clear.  You should read at least the last seven or eight pages.

      Interestingly, there's also reference in that section to a conversation on the same topic that FO3 had with a woman in DC with whom he shared an interest in antiquities preservation.  That MO fits Judy Miller.

    •  WTF: neocon Doug Feith again! (none)

      For people of deep faith like George W. Bush, beliefs are intoxicating, and facts are sobering. Sober up, America!

      by slip kid no more on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 07:01:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hamas goose, AIPAC gander. (none)

    This is not a New York Times problem, it's an AIPAC problem and ultimately a problem in US-Israeli relations.  

    Seems to me what we have here is Israel attempting to subvert US policy in the middle east.  

    And it seems to me that this is not all too different from Hamas' stance on extralegal methods (in their case terrorist acts).  

    In which case our response should be the same: suspend or at least cut back US financial aid to Israel until such time as Israel declares that its relations with the US will be conducted in a manner that is wholly within the law.

  •  Great Work (none)
    You've reminded me of some of my old Tin Foil Hat Conspiracy theories of old.  

    I remember seeing a flow chart somewhere about a year and half ago of the official and unofficial connections linking Larry Franklin and the OSP directly to Dick Cheney (didn't he set it up?), Karl Rove, Libby, and about a dozen sordid neocons.  All appeared to be up to their necks in what I thought would be an extensive and explosive Plamegate scandal.  

    I have been puzzled and discouraged that these links didn't receive a whole lot more attention.  Is this because they weren't credible or just that this nest of vipers is so expert at covering things up.

    I (almost) also remember reading of possible connections Franklin had to the notorious and disreputal Micheel Leeden, the well known EU facist whom may be connected to the Niger Forgeries and a rogue and fringe offshoot of former black baggers from MOUSAUD and other agencies.

    This article quoted Karl Rove telling Leeden that he liked his creative and offbeat thinking an that if he ever had any "ideas" to stay in touch with him which was implying a possible link from Rove-Cheney-Franklin to a potential source of the Niger forgeries.

    Some analyst suggested they were too crude to be done for financial reasons or by Mousaud, or the other intelligence agencies sometimes suggested.  But what if Franklin on his own decided to do his friend Rove the favor of helping out with Cheney's demands for more intel supporting an Iraq intervention to the UN and congress?

    I remember thinking at the time that a secret Rove-Cheney-Libby-Franklin-Leeden cabal operating secretly underneath the parrellal WHIG cabal might be the most likely suspect for the ultimate source of the Niger Forgeries and also might explain why Libby et al would go so far and take such incredible risks in their smear campaign against Wilson.

    Why have their been no demands for Congressional and other hearings and investigations on the source and motivation for the Niger forgeries?

    Cheney was getting manic and agressive in demanding that the intelligence community provide more intel support.

    Although the article was well written and seemed credible it was published in an underground foriegn blog of dubious credibility so I didn't quote it, but assummed any factual parts would slowly percolate into the  MSB and MSM and now have lost it.

    Does anyone know why we haven't heard more about these potential angles?  


    Helping to bring justice back to the White House, one indictment at a time.

    by HoundDog on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 12:26:14 PM PST

    •  I think you're not far wrong (4.00)
      But you'd need to add in INC to make it complete.

      I think the FBI investigation of the Niger forgeries has been slow-walked. It's still active. But not breaking any speed records.

      I think this AIPAC thing has largely been cut off at Franklin and the two AIPAC guys. I'm skeptical that they will push further than that, even with this evidence.

      And then there's Chalabi's dealing of intell to Iran (which is not far removed from this--remember the way Iran Contra worked both sides of the Iranian coin). That one, I'm fairly sure, is stalled for good.

      Finally, there's the Defense IG investigation into OSP (which is more culpable than WHIG, albeit connected). I think we've got more of a chance to pressure that one, because the Phase II investigation in the Senate is being held up by it. At some point, Carl Levin (who's a pretty smart parliamentarian) will force the issue. Conveniently, Levin is also the ranking member of Armed Services Committee.

      They do all connect, or very close, anyway. It'd be nice if someone like Libby (just joking) flipped on the whole cabal. But I can't think of anyone who might do that. Well, maybe Judy Miller, if they threw her in jail for real.

      This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

      by emptywheel on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 12:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Getting an Insider to Flip Would be Great (none)
        The probability of an insider flipping would be greatly enhanced if they had any real fear of being nabbed in an agressive investigation.

        Why do all of these potentially agressive investigation stop short.  It can't be explained merely by GOP intransigence and suppression.  As you point out.  Levin, the Pentagon, several Independent prosecutors can not all be in cahoots.

        Let's hope for a breakthrough.

        Helping to bring justice back to the White House, one indictment at a time.

        by HoundDog on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 12:51:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortuantely (4.00)
          I think in this DOJ, it can largely be attributed to Republican suppression.

          The thing we need to happen is for some rupture of the GOP to happen such that it no longer remains politically advantageous to do what the party tells us to do. Not a great position to be in, because it makes us very passive (we can keep yelling about these cases though). But it may be happening, what with Grover complaining about Bush's NSA program.

          This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

          by emptywheel on Thu Feb 02, 2006 at 01:52:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Was the recent NY Times Iran nuke p. 1 story (none)
    part of this neo-con/AIPAC campaign?

    I was shocked to read the sory on the cover of the NY Times. It said that UN Atomic Energy group's 4 page document on Iran nuke program was based in part on US intelligence. The story just sounded fishy to me - deja vu all over again.

    Anyone looked at this closely and written about it? Links please?

  •  playing with fire... (none)
    Any wonder why Aljazeera has more global credibility than any US media outlet?  AIPAC neo-conned America big time.  If we attack Iran, then Iran will be the mother of all suicide bombs...and poof, no more Middle East.  Problems solved.  

    Buy a bicycle and kick the habit.

    •  Best Cartoons Ever... (none)
      ...and so prescient too because Bush's madman warped reality now has all of of the G7 including Angie, Chirac, and most of Denmark on Rummy's Neo-Con bandwagon...

      •  Best cartoons? (none)
        The second one is a classic antisemitic caricature.  You should be ashamed for praising it.

        Don't worry though, neither Israelis, nor the diaspora Jewish community, nor AIPAC, nor the ADL, will be burning down your house anytime soon.

        •  Isn't that the point? (none)
          It's a cartoon. It's meant to be "a classic antisemitic caricature". It's probably also designed to provoke an emotional reaction, just like the Muslim cartoons [in Denmark] were. One cannot accept one and prohibit another; it doesn't work that way, unless one is a hypocrite :)

          "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects."

          by Brian H on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 12:23:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Post MAY be permitted (none)
            The Muslim community was justifiably upset if they were offended by those cartoons.

            The difference is no Jewish Americans are now going to try to burn your house down.

            You're a disgrace.

            •  I'm a "disgrace"?! (none)
              I managed to express my opinion on the matter without calling ANYone names or resorting to denigrating labels; something you seem to have a bit of trouble with, JPhurst. Now take your self-righteous sanctimony and shove it up the nether regions of your posterior.

              "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects."

              by Brian H on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 11:14:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Without denigrating? (none)
                Please, your post was racist garbage.

                And now you admit that the cartoons expressed your opinion.  2 points for honesty, I guess.

                So a right wing Danish newspaper publishes some  cartoons offensive to Muslims, and morons like you now think you can post antisemitism on kos and not get called on it.

                •  ARE YOU STUPID?? (none)

                  "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects."

                  by Brian H on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 11:20:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Is there any way to take that stupid thing off? (none)
        The anti-Semitic implication of the second one is offensive.
        •  That's YOUR reaction-- and that's OK! (none)
          That's YOUR reaction-- and that's OK! But I think it should stay right where it is, for all to see whether you like it or not.

          "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects."

          by Brian H on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 12:14:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Notice how my original point got lost in all this? (none)
          I notice, and I don't like it.

          But, some sort of backlash isn't entirely surprising . . . gee, thanks, it confirms my expectations.

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