WASHINGTON, May 4 – Federal agents arrested a Pentagon analyst on Wednesday, accusing him of illegally disclosing highly classified information about possible attacks on American forces in Iraq to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group. The analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, turned himself in to the authorities on Wednesday morning in a case that has stirred unusually anxious debate in influential political circles in the capital even though it has focused on a midlevel Pentagon employee. The inquiry has cast a cloud over the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which employed the two men who are said to have received the classified information from Mr. Franklin. The group, also known as Aipac, has close ties to senior policymakers in the Bush administration, among them Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is expected to appear later this month at the group’s annual meeting.
The investigation has proven awkward as well for a group of conservative Republicans, who held high-level civilian jobs at the Pentagon during President Bush’s first term and the buildup toward the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who were also close to Aipac. They were led by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary who has been named president of the World Bank. Mr. Franklin once worked in the office of one of Mr. Wolfowitz’s allies, Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary for policy at the Pentagon, who has also said he is leaving the administration later this year. (MORE)