Secret Briefing Seen as Key in AIPAC Trial


SECRET BRIEFING BY ZINNI SEEN AS KEY IN AIPAC DUO TRIAL

New details are emerging about a secret 2003 briefing that could play a key role in the defense of two pro-Israel advocates charged with passing classified information.

Until now, the identities of the participants were not publicly known, except for one of the defendants, Steve Rosen, then policy director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In recent weeks, however, the Forward has confirmed that the meeting featured a briefing delivered by top Middle East peace envoy Anthony Zinni and was attended by Jess Hordes, head of the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League, and Dan Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International.

Defense lawyers have sought the testimony of those in attendance to demonstrate to the jury that meetings between administration officials and Jewish representatives were common practice, and that intelligence was frequently shared during these powwows without the participants knowing the information was classified. But, as first reported in the Forward last month, the Jewish representatives who attended the meeting are refusing to cooperate with the defense team.

Hordes and Mariaschin refused to comment for this story, and the identity of the third Jewish representative who is refusing to testify could not be confirmed.

In Zinni, the defense team would be turning to a harsh critic of both the Iraq War and neoconservatives at the Pentagon, who according to Zinni thought the invasion would stabilize American interests in the Middle East and strengthen Israel's position.

"I think it's the worst-kept secret in Washington. That everybody - everybody I talk to in Washington - has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do," said Zinni in a May 2004 interview with the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

 


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