The AIPAC Spy Trial: A Case of Prosecutus Interruptus

I’ve been covering the AIPAC spy case since CBS broke the story of US secrets stolen by top officials of Israel’s number one Washington lobbyist, way back in late summer of 2004. Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, AIPAC honcho Steven Rosen, and the Lobby‘s number one Iran specialist, Keith Weissman, were indicted on August 4, 2005. Franklin pleaded guilty, and, in a deal with the government, promised to testify at the trial of his co-conspirators, Rosen and Weissman, in exchange for leniency: depending on his performance at the upcoming trial, he may get his 12-year sentence reduced considerably.

That is, if the trial ever takes place. I’ve been on this case since day one, but even I’ve lost count of how many times the trial has been delayed, for one made-up-sounding reason or another. Rosen and Weissman are certainly getting the best defense lawyers: their legal costs, already running into the millions before the trial has even begun, must have set some kind of record. Rosen and Weissman are the Lobby’s Sacco and Vanzetti, and they are certainly getting excellent legal representation. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

“An April 29 trial date was set in the classified information case against two former AIPAC staffers. Judge T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., told prosecutors and defense lawyers that the date he set Thursday was final, sources said. Ellis’ office confirmed the date, at least the fifth such date since Steve Rosen, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s foreign policy chief, and Keith Weissman, its Iran analyst, were indicted in August 2005.”

I see I’m not the only one to have lost count of the postponements. The defense deftly delayed on every imaginable ground, and was indulged by a noticeably sympathetic judge, who forced the government to produce top secret information — the very information Israel’s AIPAC spy nest had gleaned from sympathizers inside our government. Furthermore, he has granted the defense demand to subpoena top government officials, including Condoleezza Rice. In addition to this new — and supposedly “final” — trial date, the JTA reports an interesting development: 

“Separately, the prosecution announced three expert witnesses it would call to show that the classified information allegedly handled by Rosen and Weissman damaged the national interest: Maj. Gen. Paul Dettmer, the Pentagon’s assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; William McNair, a CIA official; and Dale Watson, the FBI’s former executive assistant director for counterterrorism and counterintelligence, who headed the agency’s investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”

“The defense has not announced its experts.”

It will no doubt be difficult to find anyone in the military or intelligence communities who would tesitfy that the treason of Franklin, Weissman, and Rosen served the national interest, rather than damaged it, but there’s a whole platoon of neoconservative writers and publicists who have been rallying to the defense, and claiming that the prosecution is motivated by “anti-Semites” within the Justice Department, including Joel Mowbray, Commentary editor Gabriel Schoenfeld, and the inimitably laconic Charles Johnson, who disdained the whole matter as a mere “kerfluffle.” Let them take the stand, raise their right hands, and swear that it’s good for America that the Israelis are stealing our secrets with one hand, even as they take in billions per year from the US Treasury with the other.

What’s so important about the AIPAC spy case? After all, nations spy on each other all the time, so what’s the big deal with this particular incident?

The story of two top AIPAC employees who acted as couriers, funneling US intelligence gleaned from Franklin to their Israeli handlers, dramatizes the thesis of professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, their monumental study of how groups like AIPAC distort the policy-making process. Franklin, in his guilty plea, admitted to the crime, but maintained his ideological innocence to the end, claiming that he had only wanted to help Israel and thought its concerns were not being sufficiently heeded by US government officials.

The Lobby, in spite of its zeal on behalf of Israel, has always maintained that Israeli and American interests are perfectly congruent. The exposure of key figures in their top leadership as spies for Israel is a case of zeal gone too far — and a perfect refutation of the perfect congruence argument.

49 thoughts on “The AIPAC Spy Trial: A Case of Prosecutus Interruptus”

  1. President Bush heads for Israel this week. Like a visiting rich uncle, he will be expected to dish out. He will be met with a lot of flattery and even more pleading – "We must bomb Iran!" As stupid as Bush is, he can't give Israel that. What he can give them is amnesty for the AIPAC spying, a "kitchen pass" to steal more Palestinian land, promises of more aid, and just maybe; Pollard's pardon.

  2. this is the same close friend that seems to have known far more about the impending 9/11 plot than the zionist msm mouthpieces and our corrupt government want us to believe.

  3. Why did Judge Ellis make a special trip to chicago to meet w/ Fed. Judge Milton Shadur in November. They had lunch at the University Club at 12:45pm, day before T-giving. Overheard: AIPAC case. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  4. This will be the USS LIBERTY of our time: it will not be played up, the public will be left in the dark, our “friends” will still be our friends and the game will continue, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, to our detriment, as usual.

    Cannot let the public become aware of how our “friends” treat us. It may upset the apple cart if it is realized that amerikan foreign policy benefits other nations at our own expense. The power game may be changed if those footing the bill get to see the statement. Cannot have that. Lying, killing and crimes against humanity – amerikan foreign policy bare of the lies – must go on for our empty suits called “leaders” to feel alive.

    Concentrated power, exactly what was NOT supposed to happen in this nation, is the root of our difficulties AND the root of the criminal nature of amerika on the world scene. Dilute the power, this nation may survive; allow it to remain concentrated and we will be the ultimate victims.

  5. It’s time to Just Say No to Israel! America’s and Israel’s interests are far from “perfectly congruent” as AIPAC says. Maybe the criminals who now run our country agree with AIPAC, but not the American people.

    We need to cut off all funds to Israel. I think it’s about 12 billion a year. The Israeli government is every bit as corrupt as the U.S. government. Both should be removed by “pen or sword”.

  6. The problem is the “general” public doesn’t know what aid we give to Israel. If they do have any clue, they think it’s around 2 or 3 billion (a joke to say the least). AIPAC is a criminal organization that most people don’t know exists. Why do all US presidential candidates have to pay homage to Israel before being considered? Sounds like someone else is running the US…….doesn’t it?

    1. Sheila says, ” why do all U.S presidential candidates have to pay homage to Israel before being considered”?… Sheila not all candidates. Actually there is one that is still in the presidential race, but you wouldn’t know it if you get your news from the mainstream media. It is Texas congressman Ron Paul. He believes that as president he would extend the same honest friendship that Jefferson and the Foundidng Fathers urged us to offer all nations. But that also means no special priveleges like foreign aid. Doctor Paul believes that our government has also done a disservice to Israel by infringing on her soverignty. Israel seeks american approval for military action she deems necessary, she consults with america on matters pertaining to her own borders, and she even seeks american approval for peace talks with her neighbors- approval that is not always in their best interest. I can go on and on, anyway Ron Paul has a new lifechanging book that is currently #1 on amazon and rising everyday on the New York Times bestsellers, It is ” The revolution: a manifesto. I think this book should be distributed to every congressmen, school teacher, student, you get the picture. In this book Ron Paul provides answers to questions that few dare to ask.

  7. AIPAC / Israel has negatively affected America’s foreign policy and image. The U.S. is currently the most hated nation in the world. Neither the current U.S. nor Israeli governments want peace. Look at the original 1948 map of Israel & Palestine. Israel has stolen land from the Palestinians ever since, creating an aparthied essentially, just as Billy Carter said.
    Because the U.S. govt. supports Israel unconditionally, America has soiled it’s good name. It’s time to rein in the criminals who have hijacked America. It’s time to impeach, indict, and convict!

  8. The most striking absence from the political debates has been any question to any candidate about his/her position regarding Israel, The Road Map, Mid East Peace, bombing Iran for Israel, etc. Perhaps because they believe America’s interests are congruent, they are content to have AIPAC speak for them. Does this leave any doubt about the power of AIPAC to control politics in ths country?!

  9. The Apollo Affair
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    This article is orphaned as few or no other articles link to it.
    Please help introduce links in articles on related topics. (November 2006)

    The Apollo Affair – the incident in 1965 where a small US company, The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, or NUMEC, in Apollo, Pennsylvania was investigated for losing 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium.

    NUMEC was a small fuel rod fabrication plant. In 1965, the U.S. government accused Dr. Zalman Shapiro, the corporation president, of “losing” 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium. Although investigated by the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies and inquiring reporters, no answers were available in what was termed the Apollo Affair. Many remain convinced that the Israelis received 200 pounds of enriched uranium sometime before 1965

    1. The Apollo affair was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to Israel’s outright theft of nuclear materials. A whole shipload of French nuclear fuel was diverted surreptitiously to Israel infuriating Charles de Gaulle to no end.

      The CIA was convinced that the highly enriched uranium from the NUMEC corporation headed by Zalman Mordechai Shapiro was similarly diverted to Israel. But nothing could be done about it since the very director of the Atomic Energy Commission, the final authority in monitoring and safeguarding American nuclear materials, was Lewis Strauss, who was very sympathetic to Israel. Though aware of secret activities at Dimona, he never informed his president, Eisenhower, who had appointed him to that high position.

      Those are some of the reasons I find Raimondo’s enthusiasm for a revealing outcome for this trial over-optimistic. If history is any guide, it will end in more obfuscation, mystifying more than clarifying and dimming any light at the end of the tunnel with a campaign of calculated obscurity. I have sometimes wondered after all why Israel would even need such third rate spys and traitors when Israeli intelligence officers seem to be sitting in the bowels of the Pentagon helping shape American policy in the Middle East to begin with.
      (See Eric Margolis’ excellent article on “The men planning America’s next air war.”)

  10. The obvious bias of the judge, the very, very slow progress of the government’s case against these defendants and the mere availablity to them of counsel as skilled and high priced as Abbe Lowell, Clinton’s advocate during his impeachment, all point to the abject slavery under which the conduct of our foreign policy labors. Although it is hardly the only instance thereof, developments in this trial virtually define the justice involved in the charges made so frequently today that the United States has descended into dictatorship. Add to them the inability of any truly anti-system candidate or third party movement to gain traction at least since Ross Perot, the scandal of evesdropping since 9/11 and the very presence of a debate about the morality of torture, and one sees the descent as complete. Until the yoke of AIPAC has been removed from the neck of our government, we are slaves, no more and no less. Perhaps the example of the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s will serve as a way forward for us. Something will have to.

    1. Thank you, John Lowell. You are so right. At least our Justice Department has not dismissed this case, and appears to be trying to get a trial date set. I want the names of these irresponsible baboon judges.

  11. A few thoughts:

    1) In this country anyone accused of a crime enjoys a presumption of innnocence. They are innocent until proven guilty.

    2)If they are in fact guilty of spying, then yes, of course they should be swiftly and severely punished. Whether or not they were spying for our ally is not relevant. To spy against this country is the height of disloyalty and it is to spit in the face of this country.

    3)And if they are in fact guilty that does not mean there is some kind of widespread “Zionist Conspiracy”, some of the folks on here must have read the Joe McCarthy playbook of guilt by association. Some of you would like to see a new “House Un American Activities Committee” to go after and persecute any Jew who happens to support Israel’s right to exist.

    4) And Mr. Lowell, if you want to talk about being “slaves to AIPAC” I would respectfully suggest that you worry more about our nation being slaves to the depraved and disgusting Saudi Arabian government. They donate tens of millions of dollars to America’s prestigious universities to gain influence there. Because of oil we call them our “friends” and kiss up to them. It is a disgrace. So spend more time worrying about how to get us off of their dirty oil and less time imagining and dreaming up Zionist conspiracy theories.

    1. Maybe we could apply enhanced interrogation techniques [waterboarding] to Rosen & Weissman to find out just how guilty they are?

      In any event, there is no question that they were passing on classified intelligence to Israel. Their defense is that they thought they were entitled to do so – not that they never did such a thing.

    2. to Tim R.
      Saudi Arabia unlike Isreal, its rulers are puppet to American government and their wealth is under the control direction of the white house – see the difference.
      Isreal is manipulating the senate, the congress, the white house by its lobbies – what else do you need to prove that isreal had stepped over its role as friend to US and started acting like a control freak wife – i guess it is time to dump the bitch.

    3. The United States gets at most 17% of its oil from the Middle East. This 17% can be bought elsewhere or we can drill and make up any deficit. The propsganda case made that we are dependent on the Saudis’ oil is nonsense. The fact is that Israel does not want wealth flowing to the Arab states. With wealth, they can buy arms to defend against Israel’s hegemony of the Middle East. Americans are sacrificing for the religious state of Israel. Gaza is a concentration camp due to Israeli policies. The Saudis are our friends — they are not spying on us — they are not taking our money and using it to “prime the pump” to influence our politicians to receive more from Americans — they are not taking land from other countrie — they proclaim their exact borders, unlike Israel which will not define its borders. Tell us what are Israel’s borders?

  12. Only in America can someone go to jail for years for daring to smoke a joint, but you can walk free for state treason ala Libby and soon the AIPAC bunch.

    It’s as if there are two court systems and two sets of rules…

  13. Bravo, Justin, and bravo to all the above commentators. God bless America, which must be kept the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  14. If they are guilty of spying for Israel they should be punished. They are traitors. But I don’t think that will satisfy people like John Lowell and others on this site.

    In order to do that we will have to re-activate the House Un-Americans activities Committeee ( too bad Sen. Joe McCarthy is no longer with us) and then the Committee can feel free to persecute any Jew who ever went to a pro-Israel rally or thinks Israel should have a right to defend herself. They should then have to take a loyalty oath and should be blacklisted so as not to serve in any important positions.

    1. Oh, come on. Why is it that when we criticize Israel and it’s operatives, we are Anti-semite? If we criticize France are we Anti-French People? Germany, Anti German? That’s the oldest trick in the book. The Jewish people are not to blame, the traitors on behalf of Israel are.

    2. Tim R
      You are so off base, we’re not in the same game. For exemple, I can’t think of any better man in the Middle East than the Israeli Uri Avnery. What is abhorrent and indecent is the killings, ethnic cleansing, mass incarcerations(there are now 3000 Palestinian children being held in Israeli prisons) that Israel practices with impunity.

      Notice that whenever Israeli soldiers are seized by the Palestinian resistance they are kidnapped, never taken prisoners. Yet when Palestinain women and children are hauled away in the middle of the night in the occupied territories by Israeli soldiers or Iraqi women and children are afforded the same treatment in Baghdad by American soldiers, the international press merely states that they have been detained, not kinapped.

      This is such effective propaganda, that it has become part of the accepted lexicon, even on Antiwar. It seems that Arabs can only kidnap, even in a military operation. But Israelis and Americans can only take prisoners even if they haul innocent civilians to concentration camps. I have never once seen those practices called kidnappings.
      Truly amazing!!!

    3. What the hell does “Israel’s right to exist” has to do with these dirty traitors stabbing the USA on the back? If you trying to get sympathy, is not going to work any more pal.

  15. The US Congress is controlled by the AIPAC and it controlls the action of Congress to supply Isreal with billion of tax dollars to support a Fasist Zionist government that has violated international laws and US laws with the support of the US government.Major US Government jobs are in the hands of zionist neo cons who only loyality is to Isreal.Many of these US government leaders have dual citizenship who’s loyality is questionable.No, government personnel should be in a position of trust who have dual citizenship.Any spy case that Israel is part of an intelligent operation the US government covers up the spying or stops the search as in the Israel Mega mole search called off by Clinton.The Iraq war is a classic case of zionist neo con cooking intelligents reports that sent US troops to Iraq as a proxy army fighting to protect Isreal. Will AIPAC propaganda have US forces bombing Iran for Israel. IF this happens try all who promoted this action for treason. Many US intelligent agencies ,police and fireman have stated before the 9-11 Commission that they heard secondary expolsion in the towers. Were foreign intellent agents a part of the terrorist act like some French papers reported? The Taldum allows Israel to sell America out to foreign countries

  16. The AIPAC spy nest must be dealt with in detail. Let’s make sure this trial happens and that it brings justice. AIPAC has almost certainly corrupted and compromised quite a few others elected or appointed to positions of trust. Identify them, remove them from office and prosecute them.

  17. All of us concerned about AIPAC spying need to keep an eye on our new Attorney General, who just happens to be a dual US-Israel citizen and a devoted Zionist. He was of course supported for AG by the likes of Schumer and Spector who have their own place in the annals of the pro-Israel lobby in the congress.

    Two comments on comments made by others. Re the Liberty, the administration happenings to forge a coverup were led, as nearly as I can determine by the brothers Rostow, senior members of the Johnson staff, Arthur Goldberg who was then our UN ambassador, and Shimon Peres who I believe at the time was the Israeli ambassador to the US.

    Since then, one member of the senate who should have special reasons for pushing for a senate inquirey on the LIberty, John McCain, seems with each passing year to draw closer to the pro-Israel lobby and expecially to one of the lobby’s key senate supporters, Joe Lieberman. One must wonder the facts about the actions by McCain’s father, who I believe was in a senior naval position and in fact was involved in calling back the carrier aircraft that were originally launched to try to aid the LIberty and its crew then in lifeboats.

    Only one candidate for either party nomination who seems to care about the Palestinian plight is Ron Paul, who was treated to the back of McCain’s hand during the recent ABC debate, almost as unkindly as McCain treated Mitt Rowney. This further convinced me that all of us need to insure Paul’s voice is heard, and I say this not agreeing with many of his positions.

    It was disturbing this evening to see the Fox Republican debate from which Paul was excluded, even though Giuliani was present, having registered 4 percent in Iowa vs the 10 percent by Paul.

    The Israel nuclear issue was also raised, and I would like to call the attention of those reading this comment that there is a super article, which was sent to me by a scientist friend, in the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” the May/June 2006 issue. Their web address is The publication was founded in 1945 by former members of the Manhattan Project. The article is titled “Israel Crosses the Threshold-When President Nixon took office he was confronted with evidence that Israel would soon have the Bomb. Newly declassified documents describe what happened next.” This 7 page article convinces me that the most complicit person in Israel now having the Bomb was Kissinger. But read it for yourself. I for one believe that Israel is the most likely nuclear party to be capable of launching a first strike nuclear endeavor, and of course we would be viewed by the world as the co-conspirator, properly in my opinion.

    I continue to enjoy Raimondo’s writing.



    1. First of all, they should do away with all duel citizenships. If a person becomes a citizen of another nation or does not renounce his citizenship from another nation, he should be stripped of his US citizenship.

      Second: Anyone who spies against the United States should be strenuously punished and be stripped of their citizenship, period.

      Thirdly: Just because a person is a Jew and supports Israel does not mean he is not a loyal American. For people on this site to imply that Jews are disloyal is reprehensible. If I would claim that a Muslim should automatically be suspected of disloyaly, everyone on here would scream and yell, “Racist! Islamophobic!” But yet that is EXACTLY what you are doing towards Jews. What some of you would like to do to Jews today reminds me of what Senator Joe McCarthy did in the 1950’s. Why don’t you write to your Congressman so you can set up a House Un American Activities Committee to go after every Jew you don’t like who happens to support Israel’s right to exist?

      1. Thank you so much for your first and second assertions, Tim R., and yes, Jewish Americans should not be persecuted.

  18. amazing how anyone picked up off the street while being middle eastern, found it incredibly differcult to get anything out of the Government yet the aipackers get every advantage that a liberal court system provides. Its almost as if there are two systems.

  19. Comment on the US justice system by a Florida death row inmate.

    “Capital Punishment”: “Those that’s got the capital don’t get the punishment…”

  20. This is why impeachment is “off the table”.

    How can BushCo’s crimes be detailed without mentioning the source of the phony, yellowcake memo for instance?

    And, the American people are not permitted to discuss our lop-sided middle east policies, period.

    Because all evidence leads to Israel and key politicians are either blackmailed and/or bribed, impeachment is not an option. (would you want intimate pix of you with same sex, under aged interns and/or farm animals released?)

    If Americans ever fully grasp the extent of Israeli influence then the generous aid to “our ally” could be jeopardized, and, that can’t happen, ever!

    An impeachment hearing would have as many holes and deliberate exclusions as the 9/11 (C)Omission Report, and that would be rather awkward on CSPAN. Even the dumbest of Americans may catch on when an “unnamed middle eastern country” is never identified and house and senate members tiptoe around it from beginning to end.

  21. Treason is as reason takes an extended leave of absence. This entire episode is unjustifiably sad and speaks volumes about how far America has fallen into the abyss if fascism.

  22. Anyone one who thinks that Rosen and Weissman will ever see the inside of a prison cell as a consequence of this case is seriously deluded. The writing is already on the wall.

  23. Opinion article:

    “Israel’s false friends” Los Angeles Times January 6, 2008
    Mearsheimer and Walt

    U.S.presidential candidates aren’t doing the Jewish state any favors by offering uncondtional support.

  24. “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

    It’s time to stop AIPAC and the other spy nests. It’s time to stop the 11-billion welfare checks to the parasites. It’s time to open a full investigation into the sinking of the US Liberty, and bring justice to those brave sailors.

    1. Yes, It’s time to counter Aipac with a more pro-American PAC.
      Can anyone here recommend such a PAC? If not what are you doing to create one?

  25. The “fix” is already “in” on this case. Judge Ellis, during his sentencing of Larry Franklin, told him he understood Franklin did what he did for the “right reasons.” More importantly, the head of the Dept. of Justice, Michael Mukasey, is an Orthodox Jew whose son is Giulianis New York business associate. You may recall that when Mukasey came under fire from the Democrats for his ambiguous views on “waterboarding,” and his nomination prospects were dimming, it was Senators Schumer and Feinstein who turned on their fellow Democrats. AIPAC and “the Lobby” apparently convinced them of the embarassment or harm that would come about if the role of “the Lobby” was exposed in a public forum under oath. Now Mukasey will be the one who dismisses the prosecution. His plausible legal rationale will be that the U.S. cannot allow the public testimony of high ranking officials like Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who along with some others, have been subpoenaed by the defense. In fact, the granting of these subpoenas in a surprise move by the Judge, allowed the Defense to hide behind the National Security claim. This case will NEVER go to trial.

  26. The U.S. and Israel do not have a signed alliance.

    After the war in 1967 we offered an alliance to Israel, but she refused knowing that she would have to abide by the Geneva Convention rules for dealing with enemies and the civilian citizens belonging to the states from which the terrorist enemies hail.

    By not joining in an alliance, Israel could do whatever she wanted to terrorize old people, women, and children of Palestinians and other Arabs. Of course, the U.S. is sufficiently stupid to give the same alliance benefits to Israel as if an alliance did exist. Anyone thinking that he is the only one favored by God, can never by favored by God to any degree — think on it, you’ll finally get it (the truth.)

    All of this nonsence goes on, because our elected idiots believe the old lies about Israel being a chosen race by God (especially true of bush-the-brain-damaged and busheviks.) This is another reason that we NEVER need another fundamentalist/evangelical idiot for Prez. We would have been better off with an aetheist — the 3000+ casualties and trillions what will cost us for this war will not have ocurred.

  27. Tim R. (comment by)… I have to completely disagree with you, concerning the Zionist (secular) gov stranglehold over the US-Gov and Media, a situation going back to a traitorous Defense Dept head and the President of the United States covering up the cowardly Zionist attack on the Navy USS Liberty ship in 1967, and the entire government has since kept the killing of American’s by the Zionist-gov covered up ever since. This leaves me no other consideration than to strongly believe a secular-Zionist gov in the State of Israel controls our (secular) government and media.
    Perhaps you have missed the testimony of USS Liberty survivor’s and top US military/Intelligence leaders that testify that this incident of Zionist gov of Israel deliberately attacking the the US Naval ship the USS Liberty.

  28. A balanced fund is geared toward investors who are looking for a mixture of safety, income and modest capital appreciation. The amounts that such a mutual fund invests into each asset class usually must remain within a set minimum and maximum.

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