- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2004

Four officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury investigating whether a Pentagon analyst gave secret Defense Department information on Iran to the powerful pro-Israel lobby.

The subpoenas, delivered Wednesday by FBI agents, targeted AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr, Managing Director Richard Fishman, Communications Director Renee Rothstein and Research Director Rafi Danziger, law-enforcement authorities said.

They were ordered to appear before the federal grand jury later this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

The agents also searched the AIPAC offices, authorities said, seizing computer files and other material from two AIPAC employees who have been named as a focus of the probe — Steven Rosen, the organization’s foreign-policy director, and Keith Weissman, who serves as an analyst specializing in Iran.

No charges have been filed in the probe, and no arrests have been made.

The FBI has been investigating accusations that a Pentagon analyst gave AIPAC classified Defense Department documents that later were passed on to Israel, including a memo in which some Pentagon officials urged the Bush administration to overthrow the Iranian regime and to consider military strikes on that country’s emerging nuclear-weapons program.

The analyst, according to authorities, has been identified as Lawrence A. Franklin, a career defense specialist involved in Iran policy. Mr. Franklin, who works on Iran and Middle East issues in the Defense Department’s Office of Policy, reportedly discussed information from a classified draft policy directive on Iran with representatives of AIPAC.

Two senior Pentagon officials also have been briefed on the investigation. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, were asked by FBI agents in August whether information involved in the case was authorized for transfer to the Israeli government, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“AIPAC learned in August the FBI was investigating two AIPAC employees when the authorities visited the AIPAC offices and requested and obtained computer files related to these two employees,” the organization said. “The FBI returned and requested and obtained additional files relating to the same two AIPAC staff members and delivered subpoenas requiring the appearance of four senior AIPAC staff before a grand jury.

“AIPAC has done nothing wrong,” the group said. “Neither AIPAC nor any member of our staff has broken any law. We are fully cooperating with the governmental authorities. We believe any court of law or grand jury will conclude that AIPAC employees have always acted legally, properly and appropriately.”

FBI surveillance in the case also has targeted Naor Gilon, minister-counselor for political affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, authorities said. On one occasion, they said, Mr. Gilon was observed having lunch with an AIPAC official when they were joined by Mr. Franklin.

The Israeli government has denied receiving any classified documents. An Israeli diplomat said there has been no formal or informal approach to his government about the matter. The Israeli Embassy also said it is cooperating with the FBI probe.

The Defense Department said in August that the Pentagon “has been cooperating with the Department of Justice on this matter for an extended period of time” and characterized the investigation as “limited in its scope.”

At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher said the department also would cooperate fully with the investigation, noting that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had discussed the matter with Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who heads the Justice Department’s criminal division.

Officials said Mr. Franklin was not in a position to influence U.S. policy toward Iran or Iraq, describing him as “desk officer six levels removed from Feith.”

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