Israeli Spy in Pentagon?

US examines ‘Israeli spy’ claim

The alleged spy is said to have ties with top Pentagon officials
A top Pentagon analyst is under investigation for having allegedly spied for Israel, according to reports.
The FBI believes the Pentagon employee gave Israel access to secret material regarding US policy towards Iran, US TV network CBS has claimed.

Israel’s Washington embassy has denied the allegations, describing them as “completely false and outrageous”.

CBS says the analyst worked on US policy in Iraq and has ties to leading officials in the Department of Defence.

The network said the FBI believed the analyst spied for Israel “from within the office of the secretary of defence [Donald Rumsfeld]”.

It claimed the suspected spy had ties with Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, both of whom are believed to have played key roles in planning the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

‘No arrests’

Last year, the alleged spy handed over the draft of a US presidential concerning policy towards Iran, the network said, citing unnamed sources.

“This put the Israelis - according to one of our sources - ‘inside the decision-making loop’ so they could ‘try to influence the outcome’,” CBS said.

A security official interviewed by the Associated Press agency confirmed an investigation was underway but said no arrests have been made.

The anonymous official also appears to confirm a claim in CBS’ report that the alleged spy is thought to have passed on the classified information to using pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

A spokesman for the group, Josh Block, said the claim was “baseless and false”.

He said the group “would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of US law or interests”.

David Siegel, a spokesman for Israel’s embassy in Washington said: “We categorically deny these allegations.”

Anyone else not surprised? I wonder who this person was and how much he was involved in policy formulation. Or if he had any ties to the OSP.

It’s Bush’s fault!!

There, I said it first.

I don’t buy it. Why would Israel need a spy in the Pentagon, especially with this administration?

If it turns out to be one of the Neocon crowd, then yeah, he’s going to get spattered. Would that be a surprise?

Out in the real world leaders must accept some blame.

Zarathustra, zinger.

I do love how any security issue on Clinton’s watch was his fault because the military didn’t resepct clinton, or it was because he was in bed with the chinese. Same with anything bad with the military, it was all Clinton’s fault because the military didn’t respect him, but with Bush. Hell no. Bad shit just happens… He’s the president, you can’t blame him, he can’t be everywhere…


Hey, I voted for Clinton in '92 :) He wasn’t that bad, as a President. But no, I do not credit him for the economy :)

Looks like it’s a guy in Feith’s office, and it heralds the return of Ghorbanifar to the stage.

Wasn’t he involved with BCCI? Didn’t the junior Senator from Massachusetts lead the Senate’s investigation into the BCCI scandal?

Is this news? The Israeli secret service is supposed to be good, I’d be shocked if they didn’t have a couple of spies in the Pentagon…

Let’s see what they’re defining as a spy. Someone caught passing out secret information via a pro-Israeli lobbying group. This doesn’t mean nobody knew what he was up to. That’s where it gets interesting. As pro-Likud as the neocons are demonstrably known to be, to the extent many neoconservative leaders have been paid consultants for the Likud and longtime apologists and cheerleaders, there are laws about what any foreign country can see and can’t. How interested these guys are about those laws may be getting a pretty thorough inspection.

Is this guy a hardened Mossad operative or just a neocon courier?

I’ve got my suspicions but I wouldn’t say we know enough yet to say anything with certainty.

Isn’t this interesting:

“It is the DOD’s understanding that the investigation within DOD is very limited in its scope.” Even so, the case is likely to attract intense attention because the official being investigated works under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Luti oversaw the Pentagon’s “Office of Special Plans,” which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

That office is one of two Pentagon offices that Bush administration critics have claimed were set up by Defense Department hawks to bypass the CIA and other intelligence agencies, providing information that President Bush and others used to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

The other office was run by a Luti superior, Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, and was known as the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Feith reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in turn reports to Rumsfeld.

Neither the House nor Senate intelligence committees, however, found support for allegations that the analysts in the offices collected their own intelligence, or that their information significantly shaped the case the administration made for going to war. A law enforcement official said that the information allegedly passed by Franklin went to Israel through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization. The information was said to have been the draft of a presidential directive related to U.S. policies toward Iran.

Some folks said Iran hoodwinked us through Chalabi into attacking Iraq. Could be it wasn’t Iran at all. “Not finding support” for an allegation, one that would make the House and Senate leaders that oversee intelligence and defense commitees into chumps as well as anyone that voted for the Iraq military authorization bill, isn’t the same as conclusively disproving it. May well be time for an outside body to do some investigating. Where’s Ken Starr when you need him?

Here’s some of what Andrew is talking about courtesy of the New York Times:

The Pentagon analyst who officials said was under suspicion was one of two department officials who traveled to Paris for secret meetings with Iranian dissidents, including Manucher Ghorbanifar, an arms dealer. Mr. Ghorbanifar was a central figure in the Iran-contra affair in the 1980’s, in which the United States government secretly sold arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon and to finance the fighters, known as contras, opposing the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

The secret meetings were first held in Rome in December 2001, were approved by senior Pentagon officials and were originally brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative analyst at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute who has a longstanding interest in Iranian affairs.It was not clear whether the espionage investigation was directly related to the meetings with Mr. Ghorbanifar. Nor was there immediate evidence of whether money had changed hands in exchange for classified information.

American policy towards Iran is now of critical importance to Israel, which is increasingly concerned by evidence that Tehran has accelerated its program to develop a nuclear weapon. The Bush Administration has become concerned that Israel might move militarily against Iran’s nuclear complex.

American counterintelligence officials say that Israeli espionage cases are difficult to investigate, because they involve an important ally that enjoys broad political influence in Washington. Several officials said that a number of espionage investigations involving Israel had been dropped or suppressed in the past in the face of political pressure.

Thanks for the link Brian. I tend to get more abstract late at night.


Starr is busy enjoying the rewards of publishing his best-selling porno book after an unwarranted $70,000,000 investigation into a $60,000 land deal.

Meanwhile back in the real world we’re beginning to uncover the true players behind a middle-east policy that has squandered billions of dollars and thousands of human lives:

The investigation of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a shadowy struggle within the Bush administration over the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran. In particular, the FBI is looking with renewed interest at an unauthorized back-channel between Iranian dissidents and advisers in Feith’s office, which more-senior administration officials first tried in vain to shut down and then later attempted to cover up.

Franklin, along with another colleague from Feith’s office, a polyglot Middle East expert named Harold Rhode, were the two officials involved in the back-channel, which involved on-going meetings and contacts with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials. Ghorbanifar is a storied figure who played a key role in embroiling the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra affair. The meetings were both a conduit for intelligence about Iran and Iraq and part of a bitter administration power-struggle pitting officials at DoD who have been pushing for a hard-line policy of “regime change” in Iran, against other officials at the State Department and the CIA who have been counseling a more cautious approach.

Reports of two of these meetings first surfaced a year ago in Newsday, and have since been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Whether or how the meetings are connected to the alleged espionage remains unknown. But the FBI is now closely scrutinizing them.

While the FBI is looking at the meetings as part of its criminal investigation, to congressional investigators the Ghorbanifar back-channel typifies the out-of-control bureaucratic turf wars which have characterized and often hobbled Bush administration policy-making. And an investigation by The Washington Monthly – including a rare interview with Ghorbanifar – adds weight to those concerns. The meetings turn out to have been far more extensive and much less under White House control than originally reported. One of the meetings, which Pentagon officials have long characterized as merely a “chance encounter” seems in fact to have been planned long in advance by Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Another has never been reported in the American press. The administration’s reluctance to disclose these details seems clear: the DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a “regime change” agenda not approved by the president’s foreign policy principals or even the president himself.

Juan Cole picks up the story:

The FBI has evidence that Franklin passed a draft presidential directive on Iran to AIPAC, which then passed it to the Israelis. The FBI is construing these actions as espionage or something close to it. But that is like getting Al Capone on tax evasion. Franklin was not giving the directive to AIPAC in order to provide them with information. He was almost certainly seeking feedback from them on elements of it. He was asking, “Do you like this? Should it be changed in any way?” And, he might also have been prepping AIPAC for the lobbying campaign scheduled for early in 2005, when Congress will have to be convinced to authorize military action, or at least covert special operations, against Iran. AIPAC probably passed the directive over to Israel for the same reason–not to inform, but to seek input. That is, AIPAC and Israel were helping write US policy toward Iran, just as they had played a key role in fomenting the Iraq war.

With both Iraq and Iran in flames, the Likud Party could do as it pleased in the Middle East without fear of reprisal. This means it could expel the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan, and perhaps just give Gaza back to Egypt to keep Cairo quiet. Annexing southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, the waters of which Israel has long coveted, could also be undertaken with no consequences, they probably think, once Hizbullah in Lebanon could no longer count on Iranian support. The closed character of the economies of Iraq and Iran, moreover, would end, allowing American, Italian and British companies to make a killing after the wars (so they thought).

It’s looking like America got played.


And for Ben and the like who will not get the reference, being played now?

The Republicans have been played by these same people for years, screwed the american public, shit on congress, only to further people who we now accuse of spying. It is laughable. Almost. 25 years later, and we are still paying for Reagan’s bullshit. But hey, at least Ollie North, a real american hero, got some snow tires out of the deal.


And for Ben who will still not understand.

Reagan made a boo-boo. That boo-boo still hurts our tummy.

The work done in the Pentagon’s policy offices often involves regional strategic planning like deliberations on what stance the government should take in dealing with other countries. A little more than a year ago, one policy pushed from within the Pentagon would have relied on covert support for Iranian resistance groups to destabilize Iran’s powerful clergy. In internal deliberations, some even raised the possibility of a military strike against an Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz. The ideas, reported in the news media at the time, came up in the context of developing a draft directive outlining the administration’s overall policy toward the regime in Tehran.

American policy toward Iran is now of critical importance to Israel, which is increasingly concerned by evidence that Tehran has accelerated its program to develop a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration has become concerned that Israel might move militarily against Iran’s nuclear complex.

The investigation is the latest embarrassing incident involving Pentagon employees. In June, federal investigators began administering polygraph examinations to civilian Pentagon employees to determine who may have disclosed classified information to Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile leader who was once a close ally of the Pentagon.

Pentagon officials have said that they are cooperating in the investigation regarding Israel. But some senior officials in the policy branch were not informed about it until Friday night, after it was reported on evening television news programs.

A government official who has been briefed on the investigation said that F.B.I. officials had earlier expressed an interest in interviewing two of Mr. Franklin’s superiors, Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, and Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, although there is no sign that they are a focus of the investigation.

It could not be learned whether the F.B.I. had decided to go ahead with those interviews.

Former government officials have also been contacted by the F.B.I. in recent days, apparently in an effort to gain a better understanding of the relationships among conservative officials with strong ties to Israel.

But there really is a part of me that wonders whether this will get anywhere. Where’s the will for such an investigation? Both of our parties are suborned to pro-Israeli interest groups and in many, many, ways I’m more afraid of what kind of backlash there would be against Israel if this was exposed. Being Likud’s bitch is not acceptible. But neither is tossing kindling to real anti-Semites. Neocons have been accusing their critics since day one of being anti-Semites but it’s getting to the point I can see folks looking at who they’re accusing, honest and smart folks, and saying well what exactly does anti-Semite even mean? This would be the biggest disaster of all.

It’s looking like Mr. Juan Cole has read too many Tom Clancy books and got a little paranoid. As his predictions of Israel are rather disconnected from reality.

Jews are not plotting to play the world as pawns, and if we are trying to do it and no one told me about it, I’d have to say we’re doing a crappy job considering the amount of anti-semiteism around.


I think Israelis are just trying to survive therefor they elected Likud. As noted in another thread, scared people support scarey regimes. Likud and other hardliners are trying to play, not the world because they don’t have many friends out there, but just America. And I would be very concerned about a backlash in public opinion if these charges end up holding water.

Behind the scenes, however, the case has reignited a furious and long-running debate about the close relationship between Aipac, the pro-Israel lobbying organization, and a conservative group of Republican civilian officials at the defense department, who are in charge of the office that employs Lawrence A. Franklin, the Pentagon analyst.

Their hard-line policy views on Iraq, Iran and the rest of the Middle East have been controversial and influential within the Bush administration.

"They have no case,’’ said Michael Ledeen, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a friend of Mr. Franklin. "If they have a case, why hasn’t anybody been arrested or indicted?’’

Nearly a dozen officials who have been briefed on the investigation said in interviews last week that the F.B.I. began the inquiry as a national security matter based on specific accusations that Aipac employees had been a conduit for secrets between Israel and the Pentagon. These officials said that the F.B.I., in consultation with the Justice Department, had established the necessary legal foundation required under the law before beginning the investigation.

A half dozen people sympathetic to Aipac and the civilian group at the defense department said they viewed the investigation in different terms, as a politically motivated attempt to discredit Aipac and the Pentagon group. Supporters of Aipac have said the organization is being dragged into an intelligence controversy largely because of its close ties to a Republican administration and the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Friends and associates of the civilian group at the Pentagon believe they are under assault by adversaries from within the intelligence community who have opposed them since before the war in Iraq. The Pentagon civilians, led by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, and Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary for policy, were among the first in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks to urge military action to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, an approach favored by Aipac and Israel.

Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Feith were part of a larger network of policy experts inside and out of the Bush administration who forcefully made the case that the war with Iraq was part of the larger fight against terrorism.

The Pentagon group circulated its own intelligence assessments, which have since been discredited by the Central Intelligence Agency and by the independent Sept. 11 commission, arguing that there was a terrorist alliance between the Hussein regime and Al Qaeda.

The group has also advocated that the Bush administration adopt a more aggressive policy toward Iran, and some of its members have quietly begun to argue for regime change in Tehran. The administration has not yet adopted that stance, however, and the Pentagon conservatives have been engaged in a debate with officials at the State Department and other agencies urging a more moderate approach to Iran.

To Israel, Iran represents a grave threat to its national security. Pushing the United States to adopt a tougher line on Tehran is one of its major foreign policy objectives, and Aipac has lobbied the Bush administration to support Israel’s policies.

"I know that this is part of a campaign against us,’’ said Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon analyst who worked in a special-intelligence unit created by Mr. Feith after Sept. 11. Mr. Maloof lost his security clearances because of an investigation that he believed was unfair.

He now believes that Mr. Franklin is being unfairly targeted as well. "They are picking us off, one by one,’’ Mr. Maloof said.

But leading critics of the Pentagon hard-liners have repeatedly argued that Mr. Wolfowitz, Mr. Feith and others have used the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to pursue issues that in some ways mirror the interests of Israel’s conservative Likud government.

One piece of evidence repeatedly cited by the critics is a 1996 paper issued by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, an Israeli think tank, calling for the toppling of Saddam Hussein in order to enhance Israeli security. Entitled “A Clean Break,” the 1996 paper was intended to offer a foreign policy agenda for the new Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The paper argued: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

Among those who signed the paper were Mr. Feith; David Wurmser, who later worked for Mr. Feith at the Pentagon and now works for Vice President Dick Cheney; and Richard Perle, a leading conservative who previously served as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a group of outside consultants to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

In the Reagan administration, Mr. Feith served as Mr. Perle’s deputy at the Pentagon.

I’d quoted from this story before but since you mention Tom Clancy he recently cowrote a nonfiction book with General Anthony Zinni, one tough and smart Marine who knows more about the Middle East than almost anybody.

Adds Zinni: “If you charge me with the responsibility of taking this nation to war, if you charge me with implementing that policy with creating the strategy which convinces me to go to war, and I fail you, then I ought to go.”

Who specifically is he talking about?

“Well, it starts with at the top. If you’re the secretary of defense and you’re responsible for that. If you’re responsible for that planning and that execution on the ground. If you’ve assumed responsibility for the other elements, non-military, non-security, political, economic, social and everything else, then you bear responsibility,” says Zinni. “Certainly those in your ranks that foisted this strategy on us that is flawed. Certainly they ought to be gone and replaced.”

Zinni is talking about a group of policymakers within the administration known as “the neo-conservatives” who saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel. They include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; and Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Zinni believes they are political ideologues who have hijacked American policy in Iraq.

“I think it’s the worst kept secret in Washington. That everybody - everybody I talk to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do,” says Zinni.

“And one article, because I mentioned the neo-conservatives who describe themselves as neo-conservatives, I was called anti-Semitic. I mean, you know, unbelievable that that’s the kind of personal attacks that are run when you criticize a strategy and those who propose it. I certainly didn’t criticize who they were. I certainly don’t know what their ethnic religious backgrounds are. And I’m not interested.”

Adds Zinni: “I know what strategy they promoted. And openly. And for a number of years. And what they have convinced the president and the secretary to do. And I don’t believe there is any serious political leader, military leader, diplomat in Washington that doesn’t know where it came from.”

Zinni said he believed their strategy was to change the Middle East and bring it into the 21st century.

“All sounds very good, all very noble. The trouble is the way they saw to go about this is unilateral aggressive intervention by the United States - the take down of Iraq as a priority,” adds Zinni. “And what we have become now in the United States, how we’re viewed in this region is not an entity that’s promising positive change. We are now being viewed as the modern crusaders, as the modern colonial power in this part of the world.”