AIPAC Blitz on Capitol Hill
The way in which the FBI investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Israeli links to the pro-Likud clique in the Pentagon may be derailed through AIPAC’s manipulation of Congress is laid out by Hans Nichols in The Hill. Past such charges with regard to AIPAC and its personnel have frequently been successfully buried.
The puzzlement expressed by many AIPAC-linked figures and supporters as to why the organization is being investigated by the FBI derives from their experience with the legislature. I personally think that what went wrong was that they treated a branch of the executive the way they routinely treat Congress. That is, AIPAC is in the business of getting laws passed that they think will benefit Israel (often more specifically that will benefit Israeli Hawks). They claim to have 2000 meetings a year with congress members and their staffs, and to get 100 pieces of pro-Israel legislation passed annually. So Congressional staffers of course pass them drafts of policy statements and drafts of legislation for comment and rewriting. (Lobbyists actually write a lot of the laws passed by Congress, which aren’t even thoroughly read by many congress members, so AIPAC presumably writes a lot of the legislation it gets passed).
So when Larry Franklin brought AIPAC the draft presidential directive on Iran that was circulating inside the Pentagon, the AIPAC staffers dealt with it the same way they do with drafts coming from Congress. Franklin was presumably assigned to find out what AIPAC and Israel thought of the draft, to get input and possibly information from them. So AIPAC took it under consideration, passed it to the relevant Israeli embassy officer for feedback, etc. This is just par for the course with regard to legislation.
But when they treated a confidential Pentagon document that way, they stepped over a line, into espionage.
I’ve been thinking more about why FBI director Robert Mueller might have an interest in the issue of Israeli spying in the US and the disproportionate influence of pro-Likud Party lobbies in the US. It struck me that Mueller has a strong San Francisco connection, having served in the United States Attorney’s office there in the 1970s and again (as the US Attorney) in the late 1990s.
He therefore would have been intimately acquainted with the case of the Anti-Defamation League, which spied on anti-Apartheid and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in California in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ADL’s San Francisco chief spy, Roy Bullock, was also an agent of the racist Apartheid government of South Africa. The ADL spied on US citizens, compiled dossiers on them, and shared those dossiers with the Israeli and South African governments, as well as trying to pass them to SF law enforcement. Their activities contravene California’s strict privacy laws (at the very least), and they were busted in 1992. The case dragged on, however, and was only settled in 2002 when ADL paid damages to some of the plaintiffs. The last stages of the case would therefore have been going on while Mueller was United States Attorney in San Francisco.
So, as FBI chief from 2001, he would have been aware that there had been spying on US citizens by an organization that supports the hawks in Israel, and that it had passed dossiers to Israel and South Africa. The charges against AIPAC may have looked especially plausible to him against that background.
This is just a guess on my part, of course.