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Franklin/AIPAC case Query:

Anyone else find it strange that the government would offer Larry Franklin, a government official who actually leaked classified information, a plea agreement so that he would testify against two lobbyists who are accused of what would seem to be the lesser offense of knowingly receiving the classified information (something, I understand from media reports, is rather common in D.C.)? Either (1) the feds are trying to send a message to lobbyists, journalists, and whatnot that they risk prosecution for accepting leaked documents, and have decided to make an example of these two men; (2) the feds are still hoping for an espionage prosecution to justify the tremendous resources they seem to have been largely wasted on this case, and hope that pressure on the two AIPAC defendants will lead to this; (3) the feds have decided that if they don't get at least three convictions out of this case, they will look foolish; or (4) there is something else, and perhaps something strange, going on.

UPDATE: Continued discussion at Orin's post, above, and in the comments section to that post.

Penta:
It is strange.

2 seems unlikely. Really, if it's not happened by now, it probably won't.

1 or 4 seems equally possible.

3 would be pathetic, yet make deep sense for DC.
10.2.2005 2:38pm
von (mail) (www):
I don't see why it can't be 1+2+3, or even 1+2+3+4.

Also don't forget that Franklin was at one time cooperating with the government in a sting operation against Rosen and Weissman (and perhaps others); Frankly stopped cooperating only when he realized that he was likely to be prosecuted as well. This suggests a couple things to me: (1) the prosecutor always believd that the more serious charge was the alleged conspiracy to share secret material with Israel, which (according to this view) required Rosen and Weissman's involvement;* (2) the prosecutor now thinks, perhaps with justification, that's he's getting his cake and eating it too: he'll have Franklin's cooperation, and also send Franklin to jail (the linked story suggests it's unlikely that Frankly will escape jail time, even if he cooperates).

von

*I agree completely with the thrust of your posts in this area: namely, that an alleged conspiracy to share secrets with a friendly foreign power (in this case, Israel) is not nearly as damaging or worrying as a conspiracy to share secrets with an unfriendly foreign power (e.g., Iran, Syria, etc.). Still, if the charge is proved -- and I stress that Weissman and Rosen are rightfully deemed innocent until it's proved -- a significant jail sentence is in order. Even if they thought what they were doing was no big deal. Even if what they did (allegedly) happens every day. There are some lines that you do not cross.
10.2.2005 2:57pm