The other guy in the ‘AIPAC case’


Plenty has been written on Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former AIPAC officials accused by the government of passing along classified information (the case was recently dropped). But whatever happened to Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon analyst who was caught leaking documents in an effort to raise alarms about Iran and subsequently agreed to take part in an FBI sting aimed at the AIPAC duo?

The Forward’s Nathan Guttman has the story:

Former Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin recently quit his job cleaning the restrooms at his local church in West Virginia. He still keeps his weekend job, mopping the floors at a nearby Roy Rogers restaurant. In recent years, Franklin also has gained experience in parking cars, digging trenches and cleaning cesspools. In between, he has been searching for a publisher for his book — a manual for saving America from the Iranian threat.

On June 30, Franklin marked the fifth anniversary of his meeting with FBI agents, in which he first learned he was a suspect in what would later be known as “the AIPAC case,” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Along with Franklin, two of the Washington lobby’s senior officials were charged with violating the seldom-used federal Espionage Act of 1917.

Although charges against the two other key players, former lobbyists Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were ultimately dropped in May, Franklin pleaded guilty early on as part of a plea agreement and is preparing to serve his reduced sentence of 100 hours of community service and 10 months in a halfway house.

Franklin’s narrative of his ordeal, which started off with him being described on national news as the “Israeli mole” in the Pentagon, reflects a mixture of naiveté, frustration with government bureaucracy and a deep belief that his views must be heard, even if it meant breaking the rules. In retrospect, it was a practice in humility for the devout Catholic military analyst. …

Franklin — "who speaks seven languages and holds a doctorate in East Asian studies, tends to weave historical references easily into his discourse, from ancient Greece to the modern days" — says that some in the government “had some fantasy of a conspiracy” that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was aided by a secret mole.

In part, it was also fed by a deep suspicion toward Israel. “In the intelligence community,” he said, “you refer to Israelis as ‘Izzis’ and it doesn’t have a pleasant connotation. They can’t get away with kikes, so they say Izzis.” This suspicion became clear to Franklin as he learned of the way investigators viewed activists of the pro-Israel lobby.

Read the full story.

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