Who Wants Obama To Pardon Lawrence Franklin?

Former Defense Department analyst Lawrence A. Franklin was convicted of felonies for passing in 2004 classified military information to two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists and an Israeli diplomat. Franklin worked for Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, a major proponent of the disastrous US Iraq invasion. The AIPAC officials tried to use Franklin’s information to get the US to militarily "pivot" toward Iran by getting coverage that Iran was attacking the US in the Washington Post. The two AIPAC officials – Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman – were charged but avoided conviction. Shortly after Obama took office, the Department of Justice abruptly dropped a very solid criminal case developed by the FBI.

Israel affinity organizations and their leaders generally lobby hard to get non-prosecution (urging "prosecutorial discretion") for cases of major U.S. crimes that benefited Israel. When that fails, coordinated efforts are made to overturn felony convictions. On October 18, 1961 JFK pardoned "Hank" Greenspun’s felony conviction for smuggling arms during Israel’s War of Independence after intense lobbying. On January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton pardoned "Al" Schwimmer, founder of Israel Aircraft Industries, for similar crimes. On January 1, 2009 George W. Bush issued a posthumous pardon for B-17 bomber smuggler Charles T. Winters after intense lobbying by more than 28 members of congress, the American Jewish Committee, and Jewish federations. Many of argued that crimes committed for Israel should not be punished and that many others had done much more and not been punished.

In December, the US Pardon Attorney took a hard line and refused to release any correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act for a handful of convicts who recently attempted to engage in similar activities. After an appeal, the Pardon Attorney did disclose that only Lawrence Franklin (PDF) currently has an open petition seeking a pardon from President Obama before he leaves office. Others petitioning in support of his pardon have not gone public – as was the case of Jonathan Pollard – and will likely remain unknown absent a speedy FOIA remand from the Department of Justice Office of Information Policy.

Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington and the author of the 2016 book, Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby moves America. On August 8, 2016 he filed alawsuit in federal court to block US foreign aid to Israel and claw back aid illegally delivered since 1976.

  • Bastiat

    People like Lawrence Franklin should never receive a pardon. It is a disgrace that his fellow Israel-Firsters Rosen and Weissman escaped justice.

  • Panco Nietzsche

    Franklin pled guilty to passing classified defense information to Rosen and Weissman, the two…fellows (I must censor myself, what with the distempered censor TLK prowling and snarling about) from AIPAC/Israel, and was sentenced to 12 years. Franklin in his plea agreement agreed to cooperate with the government and testify against the two….fellows from AIPAC. Then, the esteemed Judge, a Harvard Law School classmate of Jane Harman (caught on tape talking to Haim Saban, Hillary’s #1 bundler) agreeing to use her influence to pressure whoever she could to get the government to drop the case against the two….fellows), out of the blue created an interpretation of the relevant criminal statute the made it impossible for the government to ever convict. Then the government (after being told by the federal appeals court that it the trial court judge was wrong, but to file an appeal at the right time) itself mysteriously dropped the charges. And THEN, Franklin goes back to the same judge, who’d already sentenced him to 12 years, asking for the charges to be essentially reduced to a fine for spitting in the laundry and the term of imprisonment wiped out—and the judge agreed.

    And now this piece of treasonous piece of …..[insert name of particular religio-ethnic tribe]-pandering shit wants a full pardon?

    The stink could choke a wild boar.

  • Panco Nietzsche

    Knapp, you blocked my post again, which disclosed accurate, documented, publicly sourced background information on the Franklin-Weissman-Rosen fraud that has never been reported in the media. You won’t explain yourself–because there’s nothing to explain. You are a small minded coward.

    • Panco,

      You can try to make this personal if you want, but the bottom line is that I have a job to do and am going to do it whether you like it or not.

      You decided to try to get around Antiwar.com’s guidelines with “wink, nudge” idiocy. It didn’t work, and now you’re butthurt.

      Maybe next time when you decide to “disclose accurate, documented, publicly sourced background information” you’ll refrain from poisoning it and making unfit for Antiwar.com by throwing in a bunch of “this is all the JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ but I have to pretend I’m not saying that” horseshit.

      I guess I should leave out the “maybe,” because there are really only two possibilities here. I’ve given you as much rope as I’m inclined to give. Next time you hang yourself with it, it won’t just be your comment going away, it will be you. Have a nice day.