Is AIPAC a Wikileaks Operation?

One of the supreme pieces of hypocrisy in Washington right now is all the politicians crying treason and death penalty on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, when many of them are up to their gills in money arranged for them from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In 2003 Larry Franklin, the ‘go-to man on Iran’ at the Pentagon under undersecretary of defense for planning Douglas Feith, carried a draft confidential finding on Iran out of the building and gave it to Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC’s Middle East Bureau. They not only were happy to receive the classified document, but they ran with it right over to the Israeli Embassy and delivered it to Naor Gilon, the embassy official with the Iran portfolio.

Rosen and Weissman, and probably AIPAC in general, were under FBI surveillance on suspicion of espionage, and that is how they were caught. The FBI field officers were astonished when Franklin came into the picture unexpectedly. Less astonished, I suspect, when Naor Gilon did.

Franklin confessed to wrongdoing, and spent some years in jail was sentenced to the 10 months he spent under house arrest; he may still work for the Pentagon! But Rosen and Weissman maintained they had done nothing illegal, since under US law for someone who is not a government employee to receive classified documents from a third party is not illegal, nor is sharing them with others once they have been received. AIPAC fired them, so they had to fight their own legal battles. The prosecution was ultimately dropped. The Neoconservatives say that the case should never have been brought, since it just criminalized the routine horse-trading in information typical of Washington.

Rosen has now launched a $20 million wrongful termination suit against AIPAC. He maintains that his action of delivering the classified document to the Israeli embassy was standard operating procedure in AIPAC, and that he did nothing out of the ordinary, and that he should not have been fired. He is also threatening to name details of this routine spying.

Rosen, ironically, was hired by Daniel Pipes’ so-called ‘Middle East Forum.’ Pipes runs Campus Watch, which is a neo-McCarthyite attempt to intimidate US college professors into toeing the Likud Party line whenever they talk about Israel and Palestine. So it is only natural that an indicted spy for Israel, Rosen, should be on staff and energetically using dirty tricks to smear the reputations of patriotic Americans.

What Steven Rosen is alleging is that AIPAC, which arranges for millions to go to the campaigns of American politicians, is in essence a Wikileaks operation, only instead of posting the ferreted-out classified material to the Web, they channel it to the Israeli government. (Of course, the Israeli government sometimes acts as a Wikileaks as well; Seymour Hersh was told by US intelligence officials that Israel shared with the Soviets some of the intel it got from spy Jonathan Pollard.)

Whether the allegations about AIPAC routine spying are true or not, Rosen and Weissman certainly did exactly the same thing Julian Assange did, and yet they are free men.

Rep. Pete King (R-NY), who wants Eric Holder to prosecute Julian Assange of Wikileaks, hasn’t objected to the cases against Rosen and Weissman being dropped, and hasn’t asked for an investigation of AIPAC. One of the problems congressmen like this will have in crafting anti-Wikileaks legislation is that they may well be driving a nail into AIPAC’s coffin, as well. King, who keeps accusing Americans of being terrorists, is also known as a long-time supporter of the Irish Republican Army.

You have to love hypocrisy when it is taken to this Himalyan scale. It has a kind of putrid beauty.

15 Responses

  1. Correction: Franklin did no extended time in prison – he served 10 months house arrest.

  2. Also, let’s not forget that both Rosen and weissman are AMERICAN CITIZENS who have committed unpatriotic ( instead of saying TREASON) action against the USA whilst Assange, who is neither a resident not an American citizen, did not steal or spy on behalf of a foreign sovereign country no matter how friendly that country could be.

  3. A number of posts like this hark back to that ole’ Rule-Of-Law question, and the consequences for applying it selectively. For political reasons Wikileaks cannot expect fairness; Treatment of AIPAC will be “more” fair, assuming a prosecution was pressed against it and the bought-and-paid-for US Congress has any say.

    Anytime we have an issue that is political, or otherwise important to gaining/maintaining power, ROL becomes discretionary, susceptible to spin and necessary adjustments.

    On the positive side, for an individual who gets crosswise on a criminal or civil issue of no real importance there should be reason to hope for a fair resolution.

  4. I remember reading in the Aipac Rosen espionage case files that Rosen was taped saying that he ‘was sure glad that that the U.S. did not have an Official Secrets Act” That Rosen clearly knew what he was doing illegally accessing and sharing classified documents having worked for Rand and having had security clearances there.

    Some of the Aipac espionage case files
    link to fas.org

    Prof Cole you bring up great points about the clear hypocrisy

  5. “Campus Watch, which is a neo-McCarthyite attempt to intimate US college professors . . .” Shouldn’t that be intimidate ?

  6. A few years ago I would have written this off as deranged conspiracy stuff, now I know better. The problem is that the more you know the more enraged one gets knowing how our politicos are selling their sould to these scumbags

  7. “who have committed unpatriotic ( instead of saying TREASON)”

    PC is so yesterday, plain speech is the new fad…….just go ahead and call it treason.

  8. The long and short of the matter is that AIPAC is bad for democracy. A minority pressure group whose agenda is one purely of self-interest; which represents but a very small fraction of the 308 million strong American electorate yet manages to wield an extraordinarily disproportionate influence over US foreign policy – is directly contrary to the spirit and letter of democratic institutions.

    In this case, it is apparently not only contrary to US democratic values but also to those of other states that are impacted by US foreign policy decisions.

    • Yes, the US should be allowed to do whatever the hell it feels like, unhindered by truth or oversight.

      I’m convinced.

  9. the material so far released by wiki not even close to being comparable to what aipac sends to israel.

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