WASHINGTON - For the second time in 13 weeks, FBI agents raided the
pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) offices
yesterday searching for information against Larry Franklin, an analyst at
the Middle East desk of the Pentagon.
Franklin is suspected of obtaining classified material from internal Bush
administration discussions of policy on Iran and Iraq, and transmitting it
to AIPAC staffers.
FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weirman confirmed that agents had conducted the
search, but refused to provide additional details. Weirman said the order
authorizing the search was sealed.
This is the second time that FBI agents have searched AIPAC's Washington
offices. On the previous occasion in late August, they confiscated files
from the computer of Steven Rosen, AIPAC's director of foreign policy issues.
The investigation into Franklin's activities has been going on secretly for
Rosen and another AIPAC employee, Keith Weissman, an Iran expert, have been
the focus of U.S. media attention as Franklin's alleged contacts. According
to media reports, the FBI is investigating the possibility that AIPAC
employees passed on the information to the Israeli Embassy. Classified
information on Iran transmitted at this point could ostensibly have given
Israel an opportunity to influence the administration's decision-making
process, because Israel would allegedly have been aware of the
considerations guiding policy- makers.
Rosen and Weissman were questioned by investigators a short time after the
story broke at the end of August. Shortly thereafter, the pair took a leave
of absence from AIPAC for several weeks