Culture, Politics

Charges for Larry Franklin in Israeli Spy Ring

Larry Franklin – an Iran analyst at the Pentagon – has been arrested by the FBI and charged with a violation of United States Code Title 18 § 793 – “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information”. He made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and was released on $100,000 bond under the condition he surrender his firearms and passport.
Franklin’s security clearance was suspended in June 2004 following a search of his West Virginia home that turned up 83 classified documents, according to an affidavit [PDF] by FBI agent Catherine Hanna that was made public today. According to the indictment, “approximately 38 were classified ‘Top Secret.’ 37 were classified ‘Secret,'” and “approximately 8” were marked “Confidential.” The real stunner: “The dates of these documents spanned three decades.”
But these documents may be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. According to the Washington Post in a September, 2004 article:

“The counterintelligence probe, which is different from a criminal investigation, focuses on a possible transfer of intelligence more extensive than whether Franklin passed on a draft presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran, the sources said. The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of communications, was also forwarded to Israel, they said.”

Law enforcement sources reportedly said that the information passed concerned possible attacks against U.S. troops by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq. Franklin formerly worked in the office of policy undersecretary Douglas Feith.
Franklin is also reported to have met with an Israeli diplomat, Naor Gilon, who was apparently being watched by the authorities, according to this Newsweek report.
Earlier coverage:
AIPAC: We’s Was Framed! | FBI Steps Up Pro-Israel Spy Ring Investigation | AIPAC slaughters two sacrificial lambs, holds breath | AIPAC Investigation Linked To Antisemitic Agent

17 thoughts on “Charges for Larry Franklin in Israeli Spy Ring

  1. If the following quote from AP is correct, it could prove a good deal more serious than the earlier charge, that the information Franklin passed on was about threats to Israeli agents in Kurdistan:
    “The FBI arrested a Pentagon analyst Wednesday on a charge alleging he passed classified information about potential attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq to employees of a pro-Israel group.”

  2. Hmmm…So? Whats the point of this article?
    To commend Franklin if it really happened?
    OK I second that.

  3. you are commending a pentagon employee for passing classified info about US troops to a foreign country? can I ask why?

  4. reading Schmo is like coming across an unemployed black wife-beater who really does adore fried chicken: we could discuss David Berkowitz and all Schmo is wiling to hear is what everybody suddenly has against Jews.

  5. instead, I have to admit smiling at your analogy although I can’t say I completely understand it.
    xisnota, the assumption everyone always makes in general is that if something is illegal it is bad. What if Israel could use information about Iran – what if Iran might build nuclear weapons to attack Israel – isn’t Israel justified in knowing about it through whatever means? Self Defense I call it.
    Even Pollard I feel the same way about. He helped Israel stop an Iraq nuclear program that would have been disastrous. Its Israel I am angry at for letting him down.
    This guy Franklin is similar, here is a quote from the newsweek report linked to on the post:
    “Franklin’s motive appears to have been ideological rather than financial. There is no evidence that money changed hands. “For whatever reason, the guy hates Iran passionately,” the official said, referring to the Iranian government.”
    — I’m happy he hates Iran who is currently building nuclear weapons and wants Israel destroyed.
    When are we going to stop knocking those who want to help us defend ourselves?

  6. well joe, there’s a couple things going on. one, a pentagon official shouldnt be passing classified documents onto a foreign country, and that it concerned US troops makes it especially sensitive. This was done in secret, without oversight, by Israeli elements and their neocon friends, as a secret arm of a kind of hybrid of interests between elements of the US and Israeli security establishments, in violation of US law, and when such operations go bad, the fallout hurts. see Iran-contra, Pollard.
    Is Israel justified in pursuing the info — I think it’s value neutral that Israel is gonna pursue intelligence with a healhy appetite. The consequences of doing so — in this case, AIPAC is caught with its hand in the cookie jar, — may be that the sources become compromised. We don’t yet know what sort of damage AIPAC will absorb as an organization w/great influence and access. You play, you pay.

  7. There is no questions that things can go wrong.
    Sure things can turn out bad. But this doesn’t talk to whether it is “right” or “wrong” morally. It is a dangerous game and I won’t argue with you there.
    We can’t stop from crossing streets even though there are car accidents. The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes you have to weight the price of playing against the price of not playing- such as what could happen if Iran now or Iraq then would be successful doing what they want.

  8. “reading Schmo is like coming across an unemployed black wife-beater who really does adore fried chicken”
    Schmo is too stupid to be a stereotypical kike.

  9.… :
    When the affair first came to light, U.S. media reports said that Franklin had transferred information to Israel on Iran, but the indictment actually talks about information on Iraq and a possible threat to U.S. soldiers. The media also said that at one stage, Franklin cooperated with his investigators and agreed to take part in a “sting” operation during which he would transfer information planted by the FBI to AIPAC.
    According to the information published yesterday, it is still hard to say whether there was a sting operation or whether it was a real passing of information. It is still not at all clear why Franklin bothered to pass on the Iraq information to AIPAC if it had nothing to do with Israel (Ha’aretz, 5/5/05).

  10. “media reports said that Franklin had transferred information to Israel on Iran, but the indictment actually talks about information on Iraq and a possible threat to U.S. soldiers”
    I think the connection here is that the intelligence suggested a threat posed by Iranian agents in Iraq to US soldiers…but obviously, info about Iranian agents in Iraq is of interest to Israel too.

  11. The question we must ask:
    is one willing to give up his life (i.e. Pollard) for the future of Israel?
    If the Israel gov. asked me to do something, i would be very compelled to do it. Living in a jail cell is not future, but 2 know that i saved lived, saved israel. What a meaningful life.

  12. “The question we must ask:
    is one willing to give up his life (i.e. Pollard) for the future of Israel?”
    Then move there and shut up.

  13. Whatever. It’s not like the CIA doesn’t buy and sell informants in about a dozen different countries and their political groups. Allies and enemies alike. Never mattered before, doesn’t matter now.
    Seriously, the US should be the last country to be self-righteous and indignant about this kind of thing, given their history in South America.
    Geez, guys, it’s called espionage for a reason. It’s supposed to be dirty and secretive. He was just stupid enough to get caught. Finis.

  14. Axl and HaZe’ev you are right on the money. People act as if this is some moral crime. The fact is that America and every country does it plenty. Israel needs it the most for self defense than any other country. So let us stop critisizing and let us put ourselves in Israel’s shoes for once.

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