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Interesting Article on the AIPAC Indictment:

According to this article in Ha'aretz, U.S. Jewish leaders across the political spectrum think there is something not competely kosher about the indictment of two former AIPAC leaders for receiving classified documents, but they are keeping silent, for now, waiting to see how it plays out. The most disturbing quote from the article:

The investigation is also bad news for the Jewish community. Dozens of people, most of them Jews, have already been questioned. There were those who felt anger, particularly when asked questions such as, "Does AIPAC have dual loyalties?" or "Why do Jews actually have to act on behalf of Israel?" They told their friends they were asked "strange questions."

But I suppose this isn't surprising, when it's become respectable in many "intellectual" circles to suggest that a Jewish cabal lead the U.S. to war in Iraq on behalf of Israel.

UPDATE: With respect to Orin's comments above, given that the FBI investigation into AIPAC was headed by one David Szady, many would think it not at all surprising that inappropriate questions were asked by FBI agents. ["Although not named in the suit, Szady headed the elite department that former CIA Director George Tenet admitted in 1999 was involved with 'insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate' language regarding the case of the attorney, Adam Ciralsky."] And the point of my comments was not that FBI agents are "intellectuals," but when intellectuals make prejudiced views of Jews respectable, it filters down.

FURTHER UPDATE: One reason I thought the Ha'aretz piece of interest was because many Jews active in politics absolutely despise AIPAC, some out of jealousy for its success, some because it is seen as too "right-wing" and friendly with Republicans, and some because it so transparently puts the power and prestige of AIPAC over any other consideration. If prominent Jewish activists are nevertheless universally privately defending AIPAC and its ex-employees, as the article states, that suggests they feel rather strongly that something is not right. Whether they are correct or not is beyond my knowledge.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. A Response to David:
  2. Franklin/AIPAC case Query:
  3. More on the AIPAC Indictments:
  4. Interesting Article on the AIPAC Indictment:
More on the AIPAC Indictments: I was rather disappointed by the Ha'Aretz piece on the AIPAC indictments that David mentions below. I realize it's an opinion piece, but it seems very light on facts and very heavy on suspicion.

  As best I can tell, the only real factual claim in the piece is that "strange questions" were being asked during the investigation. The piece doesn't say who was asking the alleged strange questions, however, or two whom they were addressed. In addition, the two specific questions mentioned don't sound to me like something an FBI agent would ask (especially the second question). David suggests that the asking of such questions wouldn't surprise him because some anti-Semitic views are popular in "many 'intellectual' circles," but I don't think such circles are generally thought to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  Finally, I know one of the prosecutors in the case, and in my experience he is a consummate professional. Kevin DiGregory (listed first in this press release) was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division at the Justice Department when I was a Trial Attorney there; in layman's terms, he was my boss's boss. I worked with Kevin on a bunch of cases, and found him to be a man of tremendous integrity.

  Of course, none of this rules out some kind of funny business somewhere along the line. But until we see real evidence of that, I'm not inclined to believe that the indictments are somehow improper.
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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.

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A Response to David: David asks whether it is "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."

  I think it depends on the nature of the plea agreement, as well as any plea negotiations that might have gone on with the other two defendants. If the government sought out Franklin and offered him a sweet deal, and never approached the other two defendants with a plea offer, then it might indeed be strange. But it seems more likely to me that the prosecutors had a plea offer open to all three defendants, hoping that one of them would fold and testify against the other two; this would strengthen the government's case considerably. In that case, Franklin was just the first to take the deal, and there is nothing strange about him pleading guilty.
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