13 January 2011

FBI News Clipping Files: American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2005 Espionage Case

The Israel Lobby Archive | 09.09.2010


The Israel Lobby Archive obtained 405 pages from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. The released documents are news clippings maintained by the FBI during its espionage investigation of Department of Defense Colonel Lawrence Franklin and AIPAC staffers Keith Weissman and Steven J. Rosen.

The broad range of content clipped by the FBI ranges from Antiwar.com "Chalabi-gate: None Dare Call It Treason" by Justin Raimondo (05/28/2004) to The Nation "Still Dreaming of Tehran" by Robert Dreyfuss and Laura Rosen (04/12/2004).

Among the earlier files clipped by the FBI are the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer transcript of a program called "Back to Iraq?" which aired on PBS on May 4, 1998. The broadcast includes content from R. James Woolsey and Zalmay Khalizad. Also in the file is the Washington Post "Meetings with Iran-Contra Arms Dealer Confirmed" by Bradley Graham and Peter Slevin dated August 9, 2003. The most recent content is from the Politico "Leniency for AIPAC Leaker" by Josh Gerstein on 06/12/2009.

There is little original FBI content in the clippings. On page 337 the FBI boxed a paragraph from reporter Laura Rozen's article "The Big Chill" in The Nation on July 14, 2005.

"The Nation has learned that among the documents the FBI has in its possession is a memo written by Rosen in 1983, soon after he joined AIPAC, to his then-boss describing his having been informed about the contents of a classified draft of a White House position paper concerning the Middle East and telling his boss that their inside knowledge of this draft might enable the group to influence the final document. The significance would seem to be an effort by the FBI to establish a pattern of Rosen's accessing classified information to which he was not authorized, not just from Franklin but over many years. Rosen's attorneys declined to comment on the allegation." (NOTE: By 1984 the US Trade Representative called in the FBI to investigate Rosen's AIPAC research team over theft of classified US trade data ARCHIVE)

On August 12, 2005 Tracey J. Bridges of the FBI Washington Field Office emailed an article by Ron Kampeas and Matthew E. Berger titled "Two Ex-AIPAC Staffers Indicted". The email subject line was "WOO HOO for you guys..."

On October 7, 2005 Peter Strozok emailed another Kampeas article to colleagues noting, "Did you see the JTA [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]? Need to start calling Reilly 'That's Classified' instead!" The passage that triggered the FBI remark was an account of courtroom drama during which Col Lawrence Franklin began to disclose classified NDI he had passed to AIPAC.

"'It was a list of murders' Franklin began to explain to U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis when Thomas Reilly, a youthful, red-haired lawyer from the Justice Department, leapt from his seat, shouting 'Your Honor, that's classified!'"

The FBI clipping file also includes a 10/20/2006 Time Magazine article detailing a federal investigation into whether representative Jane Harman, in exchange for help from AIPAC to obtain leadership of the House Intelligence Panel, agreed to intervene with the Bush administration to go easy on Weissman and Rosen.

Another March 17, 2009 FBI email forwarded a Washington Times article about how Uzi Arad was barred for two years from entering the US on the grounds that he was an intelligence risk.

The last file in the FBI clippings is a Politico.com article titled "Leniency for AIPAC Leaker" written by Josh Gerstein on June 11, 2009. The article details how, after charges were dropped against Rosen and Weissman, the Judge reduced Lawrence Franklin's sentence to 10 months in "community confinement." Prosecutors sought reduction to 8 years, while counsel for Franklin sought "no charges at all."

PDF File Size Contents

Full Release

36 MB

FOIA request confirmation, response cover letter, released files.

Part 1

2.2 MB
FBI cover letter, Iran-Contra alumni meetings, profile articles about William J. Luti, articles about the Pentagon "Office of Special Plans" (declassified from "secret" level).  Douglas Feith profile.

Part 2

5 MB

Iraq "regime change" analysis, Juan Cole analysis about Shiites in Iraq, Michael Ledeen article arguing for regime change in Iran, "Back to Iraq" transcript, May 4, 1998, profile of neoconservative Iran war planning at think tanks.

Part 3

4.3 MB

Profile of Farid Ghadry, background on Ahmed Chalabi's warning to Iran that the US had broken Iran's diplomatic codes, Karen Kwiatowski analysis of Israelis and neoconservatives in the Pentagon, 2003 bulletin from the National Council of Resistance of Iran warning of an Iranian attack on Iraq, Israeli activity in Kurdistan, media leaks of FBI's investigation into Lawrence Franklin.

Part 4

3.8 MB

Clippings about law enforcement interviews of Pentagon officials looking for an Israeli mole, fallout analysis, comparisons to Jonathan Pollard case, how publicity derailed investigations ,

Part 5


Frank Gaffney Iran analysis, Helen Thomas piece calling for resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, profiles of Franklin, analysis of AIPAC-Israel ties, Naor Gilon's return to Washington, DC, comparisons to Iran-Contra affair, profiles of earlier Israeli spying on the US.

Part 6

3.9 MB

Lawrence Franklin stops cooperating with spy probe, Michael Rubin analysis, Iran analysis, Al Queda-Iran analysis. 

Part 7

3.3 MB

FBI sting analysis, pieces positioning sting as "policy difference,"
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
analysis, FBI email forwarding article about wire taps. Glenn Kessler's (a reporter who received classified information via AIPAC) Washington Post article suggesting that Iranian based al-Queda operatives bombed Al Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia after the US approached the MEK as a possible ally against Tehran.

Part 8

3.9 MB

Iran analysis, Franklin case goes to Grand Jury, neoconservatives and Ahmed Chalabi, Jeffrey Goldberg analyzes Steven J. Rosen, Lawrence Franklin, and AIPAC.

Part 9

3.5 MB

Laura Rozen analysis of Steven J. Rosen's 1980's dealings with classified information, FBI email circulating news of AIPAC indictments, Franklin's guilty plea, Israeli analysis about Franklin case, Eli Lake writes of case as holding private citizens to the "state secrets act". Articles of case as threat to freedom of speech. Malcolm Hoenline and Frank Luntz analysis from Herziliya conference.

Part 10

3.9 MB

Walter Pincus article about Viet D. Dinh call that AIPAC espionage charges be dropped, JTA article about fears that a trial could expose AIPAC "lobbying practices", article about how overseas revenge killings can be precipitated by US criminal convictions, sectarian analysis of Iran, Pakistan, congresswoman Jane Harman's role in AIPAC espionage clemency bid, reports that data at heart of espionage case "not really Top Secret". Judge T.S. Ellis decision to drop charges against Rosen and Weissman, "You all did a very good job."

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is presented without profit for research and educational purposes, most importantly understanding how government functions during law enforcement actions involving Israel and its lobbyists. The Israel Lobby Archive has no affiliation whatsoever with the originators of the articles clipped by the FBI nor is it endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

About the Israel Lobby Archive

The Archive is an independent research unit located at The Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy in Washington DC. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents about the Israel lobby, most obtained through Freedom of Information Act filings with law enforcement officials and US intelligence agencies. The Archive also serves as a repository for records that briefly enter the pubic domain but vanish into obscurity for lack of mainstream press interest.
The Archive is dedicated to preserving and contextualizing the historical records about the Israel lobby's operations in the US while educating Americans through enhanced access to both recent and older primary source material.

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