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Analyst Who Is Target of Probe Went to Israel [View All]

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-28-04 10:59 PM
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Analyst Who Is Target of Probe Went to Israel
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Pentagon official served in Israel as Air Force reservist, inquiry shows.

The FBI investigation into whether classified information was passed to the Israeli government is focused on a Pentagon analyst who has served as an Air Force reservist in Israel, and the probe has been broadened in recent days to include interviews at the State and Defense departments and with Middle Eastern affairs specialists outside government, officials and others familiar with the inquiry said yesterday.

At the center of the investigation, sources said, is Lawrence A. Franklin, a career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who specializes in Iran and has served in the Air Force Reserve, rising to colonel. Early in the Bush administration, Franklin moved from the DIA to the Pentagon's policy branch headed by Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, where he continued his work on Iranian affairs.
FBI officials have been quietly investigating for months whether Franklin gave classified information -- which officials said included a draft of a presidential directive on U.S. policies toward Iran -- to two Israeli lobbyists here who are alleged to have passed it on to the Israeli government. Officials said it was not yet clear whether the probe would become an espionage case or perhaps would result in lesser charges such as improper release of classified information or mishandling of government documents.

Officials and colleagues said yesterday that Franklin had traveled to Israel, including during duty in the Air Force Reserve, where he served as a specialist in foreign political-military affairs. He may have been based at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on those tours, said a former co-worker at the DIA but was never permanently assigned there.

One former State Department officer recalled being told that U.S. government experts considered the countries whose spying most threatened the United States were Russia, South Korea and Israel. "I also know from my time in Jerusalem that official U.S. visitors to Israel were warned about the counterintelligence threat from Israel," he said. Taking a slightly different view, others speculated that the very closeness of the relationship between the United States and Israeli governments -- and especially the tight connections between the Israelis and Feith's policy office -- may have led officials to become sloppy about rules barring release of sensitive information.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42625-20...
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