AIPAC officials indicted for espionage!

A big deal!

Two senior AIPAC officials to be indicted by Justice Dept. under U.S. Espionage Act

Nathan Guttman | Washington | May 30

Haaretz:

The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file indictments against two former senior American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers - Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman - and, according to sources familiar with the affair, the charges will be subsumed under the Espionage Act.

A Virginia grand jury is now examining the evidence in the case, which involved receipt of classified defense information from Larry Franklin, a Pentagon official, and its transfer to the representative of a foreign country, Naor Gilon, of the Israeli embassy in Washington. Sources involved in the case confirmed that the Espionage Act is on the agenda.

...According to the sources, the grand jury will submit indictments in the coming weeks against Rosen, the former head of foreign policy for the lobbying organization, and against Weissman, who was responsible for the Iranian brief in AIPAC. The grand jury is expected to hand down its indictment against Franklin this week. He is suspected of handing over the classified information. That indictment is expected to be similar to the criminal complaint already filed by the FBI.

The classified material is said to involve information about Iranian intentions to harm American soldiers in Iraq, and it was supposedly given to the two former AIPAC staffers during lunch in Virginia on June 26, 2003.

But suspicions against Rosen and Weissman focus on a meeting a year later, on July 12, 2004.... Franklin called Weissman and asked for a meeting to discuss an important subject. At the meeting, in a mall near the Pentagon, the Franklin told Weissman that Iranian agents were trying to capture Israeli civilians working in the Kurdish area in northern Iraq. Around the same time there had been conflicting reports in Washington about an Israeli presence in Kurdish Iraq. Journalist Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker had written that Israelis were operating there, but Israel -and the Americans -denied it.

At the meeting, Franklin told Weissman that the information was classified. This is significant in terms of the investigation, since it prevents the AIPAC men from claiming in their defense that they did not know they were dealing with state secrets.

...The fact that Rosen and Weissman, as American citizens, handed information to an official representative of a foreign power while knowing it was classified is incriminating under the 1917 Espionage Act, which defines as a crime receipt of classified information for the purpose of helping any foreign entity.

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