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US Drops Case Against AIPAC?

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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 8:11 am

How interesting...Pelosi denied Harman her little committee that she promised Israeli spies she'd do their bidding in...now Pelosi is getting flayed in the media, not the other California congresscritter, Harman. Now, while Pelosi is on the MSM, the us quietly drops the case against Israeli spies. I don't like Pelosi, but now I have one thing I can respect about her...she stood up against Israel.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 10_pf.html

U.S. Drops Case Against Ex-Lobbyists
Former AIPAC Employees Faced Espionage Charges

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 2, 2009

Federal prosecutors yesterday abandoned an espionage-law case against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israel advocacy group, a case that had transfixed much of official Washington because of its potential to criminalize the exchange of sensitive information among journalists, lobbyists and policy analysts.

In asking a judge to dismiss charges against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, formerly of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, officials said recent court rulings had changed the legal landscape and made it unlikely that they would win.

Prosecutors and investigators had used FBI wiretaps to pursue Rosen and Weissman for at least five years, building a complex case that involved secret court hearings and dozens of legal filings and rulings. The two men were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information -- about topics including al-Qaeda and U.S. forces in Iraq -- and pass it to the Israeli government and journalists from The Washington Post and other news organizations.

Rosen and Weissman were the first civilians not employed by the government charged under the 1917 espionage statute.

"Thank God we live in a country where you can defend yourself against an injustice like this," Rosen, 66, said yesterday. He said the case was politicized and pushed by government officials "who have an obsession with leaks . . . and an obsession with Israel and the theory that it spies on America."

The case was not a total loss for the government. A former Pentagon analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, pleaded guilty in 2005 to passing government secrets to Rosen and Weissman. He was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

Lawyers for Rosen and Weissman attributed the withdrawal of the case in part to the Obama administration. "We are extremely grateful that this new Administration . . . has taken seriously their obligation to evaluate cases on the merits," the lawyers, Abbe D. Lowell, John Nassikas and Baruch Weiss, said in a statement.

But David Szady, who was the FBI's assistant director for counterintelligence when the case was brought, said politics was not a factor in the decisions to file charges or to withdraw them. "If you commit espionage against the United States, the FBI has an obligation to investigate that, regardless of the political fires around it, and we're blind to whatever country may be involved," Szady said.

Recent pretrial rulings made the case difficult for the government, including an appeals court ruling that allowed the defense to use "national defense information" at trial. A lower-court judge also said prosecutors must show that the two men knew that the information they allegedly disclosed would harm the United States or help a foreign government -- a high burden for prosecutors.

Dana J. Boente, the acting U.S. attorney in Alexandria, where the trial was set to begin June 2, said prosecutors reversed course because of "the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial . . . and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur." Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was aware of the discussions, law enforcement sources said, adding that the ultimate decision was made by prosecutors.

Officials said FBI agents opposed the decision, believing they had a strong case. Joseph Persichini Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said yesterday that the case's end was "disappointing," but he commended the work of the agents.

The decision to drop the case was welcomed by AIPAC, long an influential presence in Washington because of its close ties to policymakers, think tanks and lawmakers. The group had distanced itself from Rosen and Weissman, formally firing them in 2005, but spokesman Patrick Dorton yesterday called the decision "a great day" for the defendants and their families.

AIPAC's critics had seized on the allegations against the two lobbyists as fresh evidence that the group had aligned itself so closely with the Israeli government that it was acting on that country's behalf. Supporters of the group said they were mystified by the case, noting that collecting information from government officials and sharing it with others, including governments with embassies in Washington, is a highly profitable local business.

The outcome left wider opinions about AIPAC and its influence largely unchanged. Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he had never found the case to be particularly revealing about AIPAC. "I thought it was an unusual action by the government," he said.

Gary Wasserman, a professor of government at Georgetown University who is writing a book about the case, said he was not surprised that AIPAC was pleased by the proposed dismissal. A trial, he added, "would have provoked a lot of public discussion about how they worked."
Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky
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Postby CodeBlack » Wed May 20, 2009 5:27 pm

I fail to see how anything Weissman and Rosen did hurts the US. It looks like the US government figured that out too. That's why they dropped the case. The much more likely reason that Pelosi is coming under fire is that she was caught red-handed lying to the public. That plus she has been bucking the dictator, B.O., which is no no in liberal land. One Hussein out. One Hussein in. Insane in the Hussein.
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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 9:23 pm

Pelosi lied, OK...I expect that from her. But, after the bribes and threats of losing money from contributors, she still said no to Harman's getting back into the intelligence committee. This story, about Harman/APAIC/Pelosi is much bigger than the emotional issue of torture being advertised in the MSM today. This story has to do with Iran\Israel\Spies and potential future war.

I don't like Pelosi, but I've now found one thing to respect about her...she stood up to the Israeli lobby. She probably committed political suicide. I will defend her for this one act.

Below I'll post some background stories.
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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 9:24 pm

http://world.mediamonitors.net/Headline ... n-Expanded

FBI Investigation of AIPAC Reportedly Has Been "Expanded"
by Andrew I. Killgore
(Friday, February 9, 2007)

"Time described the Harman/AIPAC investigation as a “spin-off” of the investigation that led to the charges against Rosen and Weissman, as well as to a 12-and-a-half year prison sentence against Larry Franklin. The former Pentagon Iran specialist pleaded guilty to improper disclosure of classified information about the Middle East to the two AIPAC lobbyists, who in turn were indicted for passing it on to a journalist and to a foreign government—in the words of Time magazine, “believed to be” Israel."

In 1999 the FBI began an investigation of Steve Rosen, foreign policy director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the Israel lobby’s Iran specialist, Keith Weissman. The two AIPAC wheeler-dealers were indicted on Aug. 4, 2005 under the seldom-used Espionage Act. Since then their trial date has been postponed several times, but now seems likely to begin in early 2007 in Alexandria, at the Federal District Court for Eastern Virginia.

Meanwhile, across the Potomoc in Washington, DC, another sensational case involving AIPAC has surfaced. According to the Oct. 20 issue of Time magazine, the Department of Justice and the FBI have an “ongoing” investigation into whether Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) and AIPAC arranged for wealthy donors to lobby House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (also D-CA) on Harman’s behalf, and whether in return Harman agreed to help persuade the Bush administration to go lighter on Rosen and Weissman.

Time described the Harman/AIPAC investigation as a “spin-off” of the investigation that led to the charges against Rosen and Weissman, as well as to a 12-and-a-half year prison sentence against Larry Franklin. The former Pentagon Iran specialist pleaded guilty to improper disclosure of classified information about the Middle East to the two AIPAC lobbyists, who in turn were indicted for passing it on to a journalist and to a foreign government—in the words of Time magazine, “believed to be” Israel.

Relations between the neocon-ish Harman and the House Democratic leader soured when Harman learned that Pelosi planned not to reappoint her to the House Intelligence Committee. As the committee’s ranking minority member, Harman stood to become chair if the Democrats won the House in the November elections.

The spurned Harman embarked on an aggressive campaign to persuade Pelosi to reappoint her. According to Time, the alternative LA Weekly reported that Harman “had some major contributors call Pelosi to impress on her the importance of keeping her as head of the House Intelligence Committee. These tactics did not endear Harman to Pelosi.”

Among those who called Pelosi on Harman’s behalf, according to Time, was billionaire Zionist Haim Saban.

Harman has hired GOP super lawyer Ted Olson, a former solicitor general, because, Olson told Time, “she is not aware of any such [FBI] investigation, does not believe it is occurring and wanted to make sure you and your editors know that as far as she knows, that’s not true…No one from the Justice Department has contacted her.”

The New York Times of Oct. 24 and the following day’s Washington Post carried articles on the AIPAC/Harman affair, although both denigrated the matter. The Jewish Forward of Oct. 27, however, saying the investigation has been “expanded,” described the controversy as “explosive.”
Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky
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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 9:25 pm

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/04 ... ipac-probe

Why Won't Gonzales Deny He Killed Harman-AIPAC Probe?
— By David Corn | Tue April 21, 2009 8:45 AM PST

If you had been falsely accused of doing something outrageous, wouldn't you declare you had done no such thing?

Everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence--at least in a courtroom--but it is certainly suspicious that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has not denied the most recent allegations against him. My CQ colleague Jeff Stein reported late Sunday night that Gonzales had blocked a preliminary FBI investigation into Democratic Representative Jane Harman, who had been captured by NSA eavesdroppers telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would try to use her clout to lessen espionage-related charges filed against two AIPAC officials. In return for her assistance, the suspected Israeli agent reportedly offered to help Harman become chair of the House intelligence committee. On Tuesday, The New York Times confirmed much of the story--including the piece about Gonzales: that the then-AG killed the inquiry because Harman, then the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, could help the Bush administration defend its use of warrantless wiretaps.

So there are two lines of inquiry that official investigators ought to follow. First, whether Harman broke the law by offering to lean on the criminal investigation of AIPAC for help in advancing her career. (The Times reports that the suspected Israeli agent promised that media mogul Haim Saban would threaten to hold back donations to Rep. Nancy Pelosi if she did not award Harman the top slot on the intelligence committee; Saban's spokesperson did not respond to the Times' request for comment.) Second, whether Gonzales stopped a criminal investigation because the target (Harman) could help the Bush administration. Harman has put out a very carefully-worded denial that's full of holes. Gonzales, though, hasn't said anything. That's not very reassuring. Shouldn't a former attorney general be able to declare that he never halted an investigation as a favor to a lawmaker who was doing the administration a favor? If not, there's a problem--and a problem (no matter Barack Obama's penchant for leaving the past behind) deserving a thorough examination by someone with subpoena power.

These are both major scandals--and, alas, they are linked. Democrats on the Hill might welcome another opportunity to pursue Gonzales, but they are not going to be eager to chase after Harman, even though she is not the most popular among House Democrats. Hill Republicans who would love to see a Democrat caught in an ethics investigation may not be eager to give Dems more reason to investigate Gonzales and the Bushies. And FOIs--friends of Israel--on both sides of the aisle will not be enthusiastic about any probe that could depict a lawmaker as a tool of AIPAC and Israel. (On Monday, Pelosi said nothing about the Harman-AIPAC-Gonzales story.)

Justice Department internal investigators certainly have the standing to probe what happened with Gonzales and the Harman investigation. They may not care that much about Harman, but an investigation of Gonzales cannot get too far without a determination of what Harman said (to the suspected Israeli agent) and did (regarding the AIPAC prosecution). Meanwhile, congressional sources tell me that Hill people are wondering how many other members of Congress have held conversations that have been collected by the NSA.

With the Times picking up Stein's story, the whole thing has gone mainstream. (Not that CQ isn't mainstream.) As I noted yesterday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington quickly sent requests to the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Justice Department for investigations. But someone is going to have to raise a fuss on Capitol Hill or within the executive branch for anything to happen. This double quid-pro-quo tale is truly a bipartisan embarrassment--and that's the best protection Harman and Gonzales could have.

This was first posted at CQPolitics.com.
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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 9:25 pm

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article ... 69,00.html

Friday, Oct. 20, 2006
Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat's Relationship with AIPAC
By TIMOTHY J. BURGER/WASHINGTON

Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government.

The sources tell TIME that the investigation by Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has simmered out of sight since about the middle of last year, is examining whether Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman's behalf. Harman said Thursday in a voicemail message that any investigation of — or allegation of improper conduct by — her would be "irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous." On Friday, Washington GOP super lawyer Ted Olson left voicemail messages underscoring that Harman has no knowledge of any investigation. "Congresswoman Harman has asked me to follow up on calls you've had," Olson said. "She is not aware of any such investigation, does not believe that it is occurring, and wanted to make sure that you and your editors knew that as far as she knows, that's not true... . No one from the Justice Department has contacted her." It is not, however, a given that Harman would know that she is under investigation. In a follow-up phone call from California, Olson said Harman hired him this morning because she takes seriously the possibility of a media report about an investigation of her, even though she does not believe it herself.

A spokesman for AIPAC, a powerful Washington-based organization with more than 100,000 members across the U.S., denied any wrongdoing by the group and stressed that it is not taking sides in regards to the committee assignment. Spokespersons for Justice and the FBI declined to comment. The case is a spin-off of a probe that has already led to charges under the Espionage Act against two AIPAC lobbyists, whose case is still pending, and to a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence for former Defense Intelligence Agency official Lawrence A. Franklin. Franklin pleaded guilty a year ago to three felony counts involving improper disclosure and handling of classified information about the Middle East and terrorism to the two lobbyists, who in turn are accused of passing it on to a journalist and a foreign government, widely believed to be Israel. The two lobbyists, who have denied any wrongdoing but were dismissed by AIPAC in April of 2005, were indicted on felony counts of conspiring with government officials to receive classified information they were not authorized to have access to and providing national defense information to people not entitled to receive it.

Around mid-2005, the investigation expanded to cover aspects of Harman's quiet but aggressive campaign to persuade House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to reappoint her to the prestigious position on the House intel panel. The alleged campaign to support Harman for the leadership post came amid media reports that Pelosi had soured on her California colleague and might name Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, himself a major supporter of Israel, to succeed Harman.

The sources say the probe also involves whether, in exchange for the help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on the AIPAC officials caught up in the ongoing investigation. If that happened, it might be construed as an illegal quid pro quo, depending on the context of the situation. But the sources caution that there has been no decision to charge anyone and that it is unclear whether Harman and AIPAC acted on the idea.

AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton denies that the organization has engaged in any improper conduct. "Both Congressman Hastings and Congresswoman Harman are strong leaders on issues of importance to the pro-Israel community and would be exemplary Democratic leaders for the House intelligence committee," Dorton said. "AIPAC would never engage in a quid pro quo in relation to a federal investigation or any federal matter and the notion that it would do so is preposterous. AIPAC is not aware that the Justice Department is looking into issues involving the intelligence committee, and has not been asked any questions or contacted by the government on this matter, but certainly would cooperate with any inquiry." Dorton added that AIPAC has previously been assured that the organization and its current employees are not being investigated. In this same investigation, the Justice Department has previously suggested that AIPAC had questionable motives in trying to help a valued government contact remain in a sensitive national security post. The Justice Department alleges in its indictment of Franklin that he asked one of the two AIPAC lobbyists to "put in a good word" for him in seeking assignment to the National Security Council. The document says the AIPAC official noted that such a job would put Franklin "by the elbow of the President" and said he would "do what I can."

AIPAC lists praise from Pelosi among a series of quotes from world leaders on its website: "The special relationship between the United States and Israel is as strong as it is because of your [AIPAC's] fidelity to that partnership..." But congressional sources say Pelosi has been infuriated by pressure from some major donors lobbying on behalf of Harman. In a story touching on tensions between Pelosi and Harman, an alternative California publication, LA Weekly, reported in May that Harman "had some major contributors call Pelosi to impress upon her the importance of keeping Jane in place. According to these members, this tactic, too, hasn't endeared Harman to Pelosi."

A congressional source tells TIME that the lobbbying for Harman has included a phone call several months ago from entertainment industry billionaire and major Democratic party contributor Haim Saban. A Saban spokeswoman said he could not be reached for comment. A phone call pushing for a particular member's committee assignment might be unwelcome, but it would not normally be illegal on its own. And it is unclear whether Saban — who made much of his fortune with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers children's franchise — knew that lobbying Pelosi might be viewed by others as part of a larger alleged plan.

Saban has donated at least $3,000 to Harman's campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records, and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which he sponsors at the prestigious Brookings Institution, boasts Harman among its biggest fans. "When the Saban Center talks, I listen," Harman said at a Saban Center briefing in February on U.S. strategy in Iraq. Harman quipped that, in order to attend the session at Brookings, she had to "blow off" a senior intelligence official's appearance before a House committee.
Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky
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Postby Nesaie » Wed May 20, 2009 9:28 pm

Now, ask yourself why it is bigger news for a politician to lie about knowing what American citizens already knew, torture...or Israel being investigated for spying again and caught trying to pull political favors. Pelosi stood in the way of that political favor.

Israel GO HOME!
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