The Pentagon analyst gave
away classified information
A top US Defence Department analyst with expertise in the Middle East
has pleaded guilty to giving classified information to an Israeli embassy official
and members of a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Lawrence Franklin, 58, said in court on Wednesday that he was frustrated with
government policy and that he had hoped the two members of American Israel Public
Affairs Committee could influence policy with their connections at the National
He also admitted giving classified information to a political official at the
Israeli embassy, but said the information he received from the official was
far more valuable than what he gave.
"I knew in my heart that his government had this information," Franklin
"He gave me far more information than I gave him."
Franklin pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts and a charge of unlawful retention
of national defence information.
US District Judge T S Ellis III set sentencing for 20 January.
Franklin, who was one of the Pentagon's policy experts on Iran and the Middle
East, was indicted in June on five charges.
AIPAC is a pro-Israeli lobby group with clout in Washington
The two AIPAC officials who allegedly received the information, Steven Rosen
and Keith Weissman, also have been charged with conspiring to obtain and disclose
classified US defence information.
AIPAC fired Rosen and Weissman in April. Both AIPAC and Israel deny any wrongdoing.
According to the indictment, Franklin met periodically with Rosen and Weissman
between 2002 and 2004 and discussed classified information, including information
about potential attacks on US troops in Iraq.
Rosen and Weissman would subsequently share what they learned with reporters
and Israeli officials.
On at least one occasion, Franklin spoke directly to an Israeli official.
Rosen, a top lobbyist for Washington-based AIPAC for more than 20 years, and
Weissman, the organisation's top Iran expert, allegedly disclosed sensitive
information as far back as 1999 on a variety of topics, including al-Qaida,
terrorist activities in Central Asia, the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi
Arabia and US policy in Iran, according to the indictment.
Franklin at one time worked for the Pentagon's No 3 official, policy undersecretary
Douglas Feith, on issues involving Iran and the Middle East.