'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hey, Remember Larry Franklin? 

Richard H. Curtiss of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs provides a summary of the Larry Franklin espionage scandal and discusses where the story stands today. Curtiss' piece covers events and press coverage that transpired after the month of August when this story broke, and some of this material may be things you haven't heard before, such as the following:

o Rep. John Conyers Jr. petitioned Ashcroft to have chief Plame investigator Patrick Fitzgerald replace Paul J. McNulty, who heads the Franklin probe, because "the role of U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty in the case has obvious political implications" in an election year. His letter to Ashcroft cited press accounts of anonymous sources claiming that McNulty "had put the brakes on" the probe.

o The Israeli press named two AIPAC functionaries suspected of being Franklin's contacts: Steven Rosen, AIPAC’s director of foreign policy issues, and Keith Weissman, an expert on Iran. Curtiss claims "it is quite possible that the FBI [is] looking even higher in the organization" and that

Just about the time news organizations began reporting on the existence of the FBI counterintelligence investigation, the FBI was interviewing Rosen and Weissman. The interviews were halted when both men asked to be represented by a lawyer before answering more questions. Washington defense attorney Abbe Lowell said he had been hired to represent Rosen and Weissman, and would not discuss the case.

o The idea that Franklin is or was negotiating a deal with the government to have the charges dropped or made less severe in exchange for "his information about other people in the case" is no longer just the wild speculation of publications like this blog but is now the wild speculation of The New York Times.

But perhaps the most interesting bit was the conclusion:

Others expected to be interviewed will probably include Iraq and Iran specialist Harold Rhode, former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, and Iran specialist David Wurmser, Cheney’s principal deputy assistant for national security affairs, according to sources familiar with or involved in the case.

Wurmser, Feith and Perle were among the authors of a 1996 policy paper for then-Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entitled: “A Clean Break: A new Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The realm in question was not the United States, of course, but Israel.

So Richard Perle is going to be involved in at least three major scandals simultaneously. The other two I'm thinking of are Seymour Hersh's "Lunch With the Chairman" allegations and the Hollinger scandal. If he keeps this up maybe some day he'll catch up with Cheney.

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