This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Iran-Contra II commenced August 27, 2004, when CBS News broke the story that Defense Intelligence Agency Iranian policy analyst Larry Franklin was under investigation for allegedly spying for the state of Israel. 
Franklin allegedley offered highly classified draft documents regarding the United States policy towards Iran to two members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The two AIPAC Iran analysts, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, have retained a well known criminal defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, for counsel.
Attorney General John Ashcroft assigned highly partisan Republican U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty to the espionage case. Charges of espionage were expected to be downgraded to charges of mishandling classified information.
Franklin's security clearance was revoked in June 2004.
Secret Meetings with Iran-Contra Arms Dealers
Beginning in December 2001, Franklin and Harold Rhode (Douglas Feith's top specialist on the Middle East) held secret meetings in Rome, and "subsequently in Paris," with Iran/Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. These meetings were arranged by longtime Republican operative Michael Ledeen. "The Paris meeting was not approved by Pentagon officials." 
- "The DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a 'regime change' agenda not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or even the president himself."
- "According to U.S. government sources, both the State Department and the CIA eventually brought the matter to the attention of the White House -- specifically, to Condoleezza Rice's chief deputy on the National Security Council, Stephen J. Hadley...Hadley sent word to the officials in Feith's office and to Ledeen to cease all such activities.
An anonymous senior administration official quoted by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service said that the immediate objective of the Pentagon hawks appeared to be to "antagonise Iran so that they get frustrated and then by their reactions harden U.S. policy against them."
UPI Report, August 29, 2004
"The FBI is investigating senior members of what was formerly known as the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans on suspicion that one of them passed highly classified US military information to Israel," the UPI reported August 29, 2004. 
- It also reported that:
- "at least two senior Pentagon officials, former chief of OSP Bill Luti and Harold Rhode of the Near East and South Asia Bureau have been interviewed by the FBI."
- another bureau official, Larry Franklin, who worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency "before moving to the Pentagon's policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement" was identified.
- "another under-investigation official Mr Rhode 'practically lived out of (Ahmad) Chalabi's office'. Intelligence sources said that CIA operatives observed Mr Rhode as being constantly on his cell phone to Israel, discussing US plans, military deployments, political projects and a discussion of Iraq assets."
- "In 1982, Mr Feith went to work for Pentagon official Richard Perle, a prominent neo-conservative and one of the key planners of the Bush administration's current Middle East policy, including the plan to invade Iraq. Mr Perle has since left the Pentagon. Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, also a neo-conservative member of the Bush administration, played a 'large role in hiring Mr Feith for his current job', the report said."
- Additionally, UPI reported on information carried by New York's Newsday:
- "an aide to Defence Undersecretary Douglas Feith was a possible suspect but did not name him. The aide, the newspaper said, was an advocate for the Iraq war and had close ties to Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi."
- "Mr Feith's aide allegedly gave information to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying organization, which then handed it on to Israel."
- "the investigation is at least a year old and involves claims that other members of Mr Feith's staff gave information to Israel, including details of US plans for the invasion of Iraq."
Connecting the Dots to Valerie Plame?
Juan Cole reported August 30, 2004, that "In a later broadcast on MSNBC, former CIA officer and NBC analyst Larry Johnson reported that for months he had been aware of an investigation that had led to tonight's revelation, one that had originally focused on the source of a forged document indicating that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, presumably for making nuclear weapons. Johnson speculated that Israel may have been behind the forgery which was used by the administration to bolster its case for invasion. If so, he said, the espionage case could tie to an ongoing Justice Department criminal investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative by right-wing columnist Robert Novak. Johnson also said the FBI was furious that news of the espionage investigation had leaked. Johnson opined that the investigation could lead from DOD to the National Security Council, and that the timing of the leak just before the start of the Republican convention was not coincidental. In a post on the dailykos weblog, one contributor noted that 'when Tom Clancy and [Gen.] Zinni were running around flogging their book, they were on Deborah Norville. [During the show, Norville] asked Clancy of his impression of Wolfowitz. 'Is he working for our side?' [Clancy] replied." 
On May 3, 2005, the FBI filed criminal charges against Lawrence Anthony Franklin.
- "The complaint alleges that, at a June 26, 2003 lunch, Franklin disclosed classified national defense information related to potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq to two unnamed individuals. (According to media reports, the two individuals are Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were employed by AIPAC at the time). The complaint also alleges that Franklin disclosed classified information to 'a foreign official and members of the media', and that a search of Franklin's home found approximately 83 classified documents.
"Franklin appeared in court on May 4. He was released on $100,000 bond. Franklin's lawyer said he will plead not guilty." 
On May 26, 2005, the Indictment with six separate charges was filed against Lawrence Anthony Franklin.
- Count 1: Conspiracy to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it.
- Counts 2-4: Conspiracy to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it.
- Count 5: Communication of classified information to persons not authorized to receive it.
- Count 6: Conspiracy to communicate classified information to agent and representative of foreign government without specific authorization.
National defense information included that "about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. ... None of the charges involves espionage. An FBI agent's affidavit that accompanied the criminal complaint against Franklin last month did not suggest that the disclosure endangered U.S. troops, but it said intelligence sources could have been compromised." 
"The indictment lists two unindicted co-conspirators, identifying them only as 'CC1' and 'CC2', but we know from numerous news accounts that they refer to Steve Rosen, AIPAC's longtime public policy director, and Keith Weissman, the lobby's Iran specialist. For two years, the indictment charges, Franklin 'did unlawfully, knowingly, and willingly conspire, confederate, and agree, together with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to communicate, deliver, and transmit information relating to the national defense to CC-1 and CC-2, persons not entitled to receive such information, with reason to believe that such information could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.'" That "foreign nation" is Israel, Justin Raimondo wrote June 15, 2005. 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration scandals
- Bush administration leaks
- Iran/Contra scandal
- Karl Rove: Outing Valerie Plame
- Loose Cannon Pentagon
- Office of Special Plans
- Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
- White House Iraq Group
- Barry O'Connell, "AIPAC/Franklin Spy Scandal Spreads to The Whitehouse," sw-asia.com, undated.
- Michael Ledeen, "The Future of Iran. Armitage might want to rethink that 'democracy' line," National Review, July 9, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network," Inter Press Service, August 7, 2003.
- Pete Yost, "Pentagon met with discredited figure from Iran-Contra scandal," AP, August 8, 2003.
- Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps, "Arms dealer in talks with US officials about Iran," Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), August 9, 2003.
- Bradley Graham and Peter Slevin, "Meetings With Iran-Contra Arms Dealer Confirmed," Washington Post, August 9, 2003.
- Mark Hosenball and John Barry, "The Mystery Meeting," Newsweek, August 18, 2003 (issue).
- Craig Gordon, "Pentagon hawks, Iran-Contra scam dealer hold talks," Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, September 8, 2003.
- Mark Hosenball, "Reliable Source? The Ongoing Fight Over Ghorbanifar," Newsweek, October 27, 2003 (issue).
- James Risen, "How a Shady Iranian Kept the Pentagon's Ear," New York Times, December 7, 2003.
- Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, "The Lie Factory," Mother Jones (January/February 2004), January 26, 2004: "Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story for how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war."
- Robert Dreyfuss and Laura Rozen, "Still Dreaming of Tehran," The Nation, posted March 25, 2004; April 12, 2004 (issue): "The Bush Administration's hawks and their neoconservative allies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and The Weekly Standard are engaged in a high-risk and high-stakes effort to restore their fading power in Washington by pressing for a confrontation with Iran. It's no secret that the neocons' star has fallen since the war with Iraq. The intelligence scandal plaguing the White House and the ongoing crisis in Iraq itself can both be laid at their doorstep, and it's widely believed that President Bush's re-election team would dearly like to extricate the President from the Iraqi tar baby."
- Matthew Yglesias, "When in Rome," Matthew Ygeleias, July 10, 2004: Juan Cole wrote that Ygelesias "tipped us off to a key piece of information": "The Niger forgeries also try to implicate Iran. Indeed, the idea of a joint Iraq/Iran nuclear plot was so far-fetched that it is what initially made the Intelligence and Research division of the US State Department suspicious of the forgeries, even before the discrepancies of dates and officials in Niger were noticed."
- Richard Sale, "FBI probes DOD office," UPI, August 24, 2004.
- "FBI Probes Pentagon Spy Case," CBS News, August 27, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "The FBI Investigation" and "The FBI Investigation II," War and Peace, August 27, 2004.
- "'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for August 27, 2004: Alex Witt (guest host) asks: "Now, if there is a high-ranking Israeli spy in the Pentagon, how much does that compromise U.S. security and intelligence, not to mention the image of the United States abroad?" Scroll down to telephone response by Larry Johnson.
- Bradely Graham and Thomas E. Ricks, "FBI Probe Targets Pentagon Official. Analyst Allegedly Gave Data to Israel," Washington Post, August 28, 2004.
- Warren P. Strobel, "FBI espionage probe goes beyond Israeli allegations, sources say," Knight Ridder Newspapers, August 28, 2004. Posted on southwestasia.blogspot.com website.
- Kos, "Bush: An intelligence disaster," Daily Kos, August 28, 2004.
- Bill Gertz, "Pentagon aide draws scrutiny from FBI," Washington Times, August 28, 2004.
- "FBI may arrest alleged Israeli spy," UPI, August 28, 2004.
- James Risen, "Pentagon Official Suspected of Giving U.S. Secrets to Israel," New York Times, August 28, 2004: Abstract: "FBI is investigating Pentagon official on suspicion of passing secrets to Israel; has gathered evidence that official passed classified documents to American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, major pro-Israeli lobbying group, which in turn provided information to Israeli intelligence; official, who works in Defense Under Sec Douglas Feith's office, allegedly gave Israelis sensitive report about US policy toward Iran; neither official nor anyone else associated with case has been arrested."
- Helena Cobban, "The Israeli spying accusation: big questions!" Just World News, August 28, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Israeli Spy in Pentagon Linked to AIPAC," Informed Comment, August 28, 2004.
- Swopa, Ask the Newsmaker: "Real-time needling, starring Swopa and Michael Ledeen," Needlenose, August 28, 2004.
- Bryan Bender and Peter S. Canellos, "Analyst in spy probe is identified. Defense Dept. figure was Iran specialist," Boston Globe, August 29, 2004.
- Matthew Gutman, "Who is Larry Franklin?" Jerusalem Post, August 29, 2004. Posted on dual-loyalties.blogspot website (original link inactive).
- Juan Cole, "Pentagon/Israel Spying Case Expands: Fomenting a War on Iran," Informed Comment, August 29, 2004.
- "US gave Iraq information to Israel, say reports," UPI, August 29, 2004.
- Helena Cobban, "Larry Franklin Affair, Contd," Just World News, August 29, 2004.
- Thomas E. Ricks and Robin Wright, "Analyst Who Is Target of Probe Went to Israel," Washington Post, August 29, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "Ghorbanifar," War and Peace, August 29, 2004.
- James Risen, "F.B.I. Said to Reach Official Suspected of Passing Secrets," New York Times, August 29, 2004.
- Matthew Yglesias, "Dissonance," Matthew Yglesias, August 29, 2004.
- Steven Erlanger, "Israel Denies Spying Against U.S.," New York Times, August 29, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Pentagon/Israel Spying Case Expands: Fomenting a War on Iran," August 29, 2004.
- Diagram of the "Pentagon Spy Story," uggabugga blogspot, August 29, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "Iran Contra II?" The Gadflyer, August 29, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "Franklin, Flipped: Why are Larry Franklin's defenders trying to portray him as a desk grunt?" War and Peace, August 30, 2004.
- David Johnston and Eric Schmitt, "Pentagon Analyst Was Cooperating When Israel Spy Case Became Public, Officials Say" (abstract), New York Times, August 30, 2004.
- Eli Lake, "'Spy' Case Focusing on Lesser Charge. Misuse of Classified Information at Issue," New York Sun, August 30, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Johnson: FBI Furious at Leak," Informed Comment, August 30, 2004.
- David Johnston and Eric Schmitt, "Officials Say Publicity Derailed Secrets Inquiry," New York Times, August 30, 2004.
- Karen Kwiatkowski, "Spies in the Pentagon?" lewrockwell.com, August 30, 2004.
- Justin Raimondo, "The Axis of Treason; Israeli spies in the Pentagon," August 30, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "AIPAC's Overt and Covert Ops," antiwar.com, August 30, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Franklin Met with Naor Gilon," (cache file), Informed Comment, August 31, 2004: "The Israeli foreign ministry has confirmed that Lawrence Franklin, the Pentagon's top Iran desk officer, met repeatedly in Washington with 'Naor Gilon, head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and a specialist on Iran's nuclear weapons program.'"
- Laura Rozen, "More Investigations of Feith's Office," War and Peace, August 31, 2004.
- Bryan Bender, "2d probe at the Pentagon examines actions on Iraq," Boston Globe, August 31, 2004.
- Curt Anderson, "FBI briefs top Pentagon officials about spy investigation," AP, August 31, 2004.
- Karen Laub, "Spy Probe: Israeli diplomat held meetings with Pentagon official," (abstract), The Union Leader (Manchester, NH), August 31, 2004.
- Michael Ledeen, "An Improbable Molehunt. Sorting it out," National Review, August 31, 2004.
- Joshua Micah Marshall, Laura Rozen, and Paul Glastris, "Iran-Contra II? Fresh scrutiny on a rogue Pentagon operation," Washington Monthly, September 2004.
- Jim Lobe, [http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=3478 "Spy Probe Scans
Neocon-Israel Ties,"] antiwar.com, September 1, 2004.
- Steve Inskeep, "Analysis: More Being Learned About Larry Franklin, Suspected Spy For Israel," NPR, September 3, 2004: Ahmad Chalabi "Linked to Pentagon Leak Probe.".
- Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, "And Now a Mole? In the Pentagon, a suspected spy allegedly passes secrets about Iran to Israel," Newsweek, September 6, 2004 (issue).
- Matthew Yglesias, "The Ledeen Paradox," Matthew Yglesias, September 7, 2004.
- Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, "Classified Info: Springing a Leak," Newsweek, September 13, 2004 (issue).
- Joel Mowbray, "The spies who aren't," townhall.com, September 20, 2004.
- Richard B. Schmitt, "Policy Analyst Is Said to Have Rejected Plea Deal. Larry Franklin, who is accused of passing secrets on Iran, also has replaced his attorney," Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2004.
- Update: Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2004: "Larry Franklin replaced his attorney Plato Cacheris confirmed this week that he recently had been retained by Franklin. Cacheris represented CIA operative Aldrich H. Ames, former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert P. Hanssen, intern Monica S. Lewinsky and Nixon administration Atty. Gen. John Mitchell." Posted on Global Free Press website.
- Justin Raimondo, "Larry Franklin's October Surprise. This trick is no treat for either candidate," antiwar.com, October 8, 2004: "The Franklin case is a byproduct of a two-year investigation: law enforcement was routinely listening in on a conversation between two high-ranking AIPAC employees and Israeli officials when they stumbled on Franklin's treason. The story was deliberately leaked, not by the FBI, but by parties who were interested in prematurely forcing the whole investigation out into the open – giving the Israelis involved time to flee the country, and others an opportunity to destroy evidence and take cover. Franklin's stonewalling, and apparent decision to fight – 'Any charge of espionage will be met with fierce resistance,' says Cacheris – is a challenge to the FBI to either put up or shut up."
- Laura Rozen and Jason Vest, "Cloak and Swagger. The Larry Franklin spy probe reveals an escalating fight over control of Iran policy," The American Prospect, November 2, 2004 (issue).
- Richard Sale, "FBI steps up AIPAC probe," UPI, December 9, 2004.
- Mark Hosenball, "Exclusive: Regime Change in Iran? One Man's Secret Plan," Newsweek, December 22, 2004 (issue).
- Michelle Malkin, "AIPAC Fires Two," michellemalkin.com, April 21, 2005.
- News Release: "Defense Department Analyst Larry Franklin Arrested, Charged with Disclosing Classified Information," Department of Justice, May 4, 2005. Posted on Federation of American Scientists website.
- Robert Siegel, "Analysis: Defense Department Analyst Charged With Leaking Classified Information," NPR, May 4, 2005.
- Michelle Malkin, "Charged: Larry Franklin," michellemalkin.com, May 4, 2005.
- Michelle Malkin, "The National Security Scandal No One's Talking About," michellemalkin.com, May 5, 2005.
- Michelle Malkin, "The Larry Franklin Scandal Continued," michellemalkin.com, May 5, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "Israel's Amen Corner silent on AIPAC-Franklin spy scandal," antiwar.com, May 5, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "Larry Franklin and the Axis of Espionage. The arrest of a Pentagon analyst who spied for Israel is just the beginning," antiwar.com, May 6, 2005.
- Michelle Malkin, "FBI Questions Journalists About Larry Franklin," michellemalkin.com, May 14, 2005.
- "Who Was Leaking to Whom?" Newsweek, May 16, 2005.
- Laura Rozen, "Hall of Mirrors," The Nation, May 20, 2005.
- David Johnston, "Ex-Analyst Is Expected to Face New Charges," New York Times, May 24, 2005.
- "Larry Franklin: sell of U.S. secrets," NewsFromRussia, May 6, 2005: "A Pentagon analyst was arrested Wednesday and charged with giving classified information about potential attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq to employees of a pro-Israel group. ... Larry Franklin, a 58-year-old Air Force Reserves colonel who once worked for the Pentagon's No. 3 official, is the first person charged in a long-running investigation into whether Israel improperly obtained U.S. secrets."
- Mark Sherman, "Pentagon Analyst Indicted in Info Leak," AP, June 13, 2005. Posted on DemocraticUnderground Forum website.
- Justin Raimondo, "Indictment Shows Washington Is 'Israeli-Occupied Territory'. Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin's espionage case has uncovered a spy nest at the top," antiwar.com, June 15, 2005.
- U.S. Dept of Justice October 5 2005
Larry Franklin and AIPAC Statement of Facts http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae/ArchivePress/OctoberPDFArchive/05/20051005franklinsof.pdf Franklin Plea Agreement http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae/ArchivePress/OctoberPDFArchive/05/20051005franklinpa.pdf
Guilty on 1 & 5 ,will cooperate in further investigations.