Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was reinstated a few weeks ago, after sitting at home for half a year and being barred from returning to his job on the Iranian desk in the Department of Defense's policy division. Franklin was at the center of a lengthy FBI investigation after suspicions arose that he transfered classified information about U.S. policy on Iran to members of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
In the seven months since the affair made headlines on the CBS evening news, the investigation has been kept under tight wraps, but its ramifications are already being felt.
While Franklin is back at work, and, say well-placed sources, is expected to reach a plea bargain, the spotlight has moved to the AIPAC officials - two senior members were suspended for the duration of the case and four other senior officials were forced to testify at length before the special investigative jury in Virginia (whose proceedings are classified) appointed for the case...
Investigators must decide on the suspects in the case - Larry Franklin alone; Franklin and two AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman [pictured]; or whether, on top of those three, the entire AIPAC organization has acted unlawfully.
Sources close to the investigation suggested recently that it would end in a plea bargain. Franklin would plead to a lesser crime of unauthorized transfer of information, Rosen and Weissman would be charged with receiving classified information unlawfully, and AIPAC would remain unstained.[...]
Haaretz has learned that Franklin has been moved to a post different from the one he held previously and kept from handling classified information...
It is clear that the FBI has as its objective an extensive investigation against AIPAC. Investigators have been looking into AIPAC's entire manner of operating, not just in the Franklin instance. An official questioned twice by the FBI, as a witness, was astounded by investigators' intimate familiarity with AIPAC.
The intended breadth of the investigation is also evident from the FBI's dramatic moves - raiding AIPAC offices in December and issuing subpoenas to its four top executives. Executive Director Howard Kohr, Managing Director Richard Fishman, Research Director Rafael Danziger and Communications Director Renee Rothstein appeared before the investigative jury and were questioned at length.
Investigators also reportedly tried to use Franklin, after the affair erupted, to incriminate as many senior AIPAC officials as possible.
(ed. This and the Jeff Gannon debacle are the two biggest scandals of the Bush/Cheney administration. Depending upon which way the "chips" fall we might see a repeat of the "impeachment" process that almost drove former president Bill Clinton from office. Make no mistake about it, these two affairs are highly important and reveal the dark underside of American foreign and domestic policy.)