Aipac Spy Case Update Knight Ridders

AIPAC Spy Case Update

Knight Ridder’s Warren Strobel, who reported a week ago that the FBI investigation of Lawrence Franklin was part of a much larger probe of the pro-Likud Neocon clique in Washington (he didn’t put it exactly like that) is increasingly being vindicated as the papers of record pick up the story. The Washington Post reported that the leak of intelligence information to Ahmad Chalabi is part of the investigation. Chalabi somehow found out that the US had cracked Iranian communications codes, and passed the information on to Iran, profoundly damaging the ability of the US to monitor Iran’s (largely peaced) nuclear program. The Washington Post also reveals that the investigation extends to David Wurmser, who wants to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran, and now works for Dick “Kindly Grandpa” Cheney. The Post also reveals that Michigan Congressman John Conyers is very concerned that the investigation has been taken over by a Republican political appointee and may get buried as a result.

It turns out that Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley were informed of the investigation already in 2001, which raises real questions about what action AIPAC officials took to spark it in the first place (most of the details so far leaked concern issues that arose in 2002 and 2003). Stephen Hadley is very tight with the Neocons, and if he knew about the investigation, you wonder whether he could have kept it to himself. On the other hand, maybe the FBI deliberately told some people, to see if they then showed up in the electronic surveillance.

Jason Vest and Laura Rozen reveal that Vermont politician Stephen Green, who has written two books critical of the US-Israeli relationship that covered past spying cases involving AIPAC that were somehow dropped, was interviewed by the FBI, which was clearly looking into whether those investigations should have been dropped.

So far the press has not much looked into the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or MKO) angle, which I think might be quite important to the whole case.

The politics of the investigation of AIPAC within the FBI would be fascinating to know more about. There have been suspicions that post-9/11, the FBI has been worried about being penetrated by the Israeli intelligence and military, because it now needs the expertise of Arabists, and one recruiting pool for Arabists is Sephardic Jews from, or who are close to, Israel.

As it is, pro-Israeli figures like the Phalangist-related Walid Phares have played a sinister behind-the-scenes role in trying to railroad Arab-Americans like the four defendants in the Detroit case, which has now had to be dropped because of overwhelming evidence of their innocence and of prosecutorial malfeasance. The FBI should investigate how Pharis, an undistinguished academic with links to far rightwing Lebanese groups and the Likud clique, became the “terrorism analyst” at MSNBC.

FBI director Robert Mueller, whose resume is extremely professional, may just think like a prosecutor and mind his country being made a patsy.