How Far Does Israeli Spy Case Go?

The first reaction from Washington insiders to news reports that
the FBI was hot on the trail of an Israeli spy inside
the Pentagon was to wonder what a spy could possibly
tell the Israelis they don`t already know.

Since this administration, most of the Congress and its staff, and
much of the media are all riddled with lobbyists for and
friends, sympathizers and outright supporters of Israel,
a spy for Tel Aviv would be rather like the Maytag

Who would bother to call him?

Nevertheless, the news stories about what turns out to have been an
FBI counter-intelligence investigation that started two
years ago have not gone away. Indeed, the more recent
reports lend more credibility to the Israeli spy theory
than the earlier ones.

Franklin, the Pentagon analyst named as the subject of
the investigation, works in the same office as his
supervisor, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas
Feith, who is himself part of the now-notorious


policy makers who promoted war with
Iraq from at least the days after the 9/11 attacks.

Along with Mr.
Feith`s own boss, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz, former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard
Perle and several others in the administration, they are
all part of a group that has been extremely close to the
Israeli government and especially to Ariel Sharon`s
Likud government. It is now clear that the investigation
is interested in all of the above.

And they are not alone. Yet another figure surfacing in the case is
Michael Ledeen, also a

prominent neoconservative,
who was involved in the
Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, when he served as the
conduit between the Israeli and U.S. governments in
kicking off the whole covert business. Now, Mr. Ledeen
is reported to have held meetings with Mr. Franklin and
his old buddy from Iran-Contra days, Iranian

Manucher Ghorbanifar.

It all gets curiouser and curiouser.

Mr. Ledeen himself denies that the smoke pouring out of the Israeli
spy case means there`s any fire. “They have no case,” he
insists. “If they have a case, why hasn`t anybody
been arrested or charged?” [
Case Renews Debate Over Pro-Israel Lobby`s Ties to
September 6, 2004]

Well, there might be a number of reasons, ranging from the obvious
(the investigation is far from complete) to the
speculative (political interference by some very
powerful people inside the administration).

What people exactly? Well, some of the very ones at whom the FBI is

The Washington Post reports that FBI investigators “have
specifically asked about a group of neoconservatives
involved in defense issues,”
including Mr. Feith,
Mr. Wolfowitz and “Iraq and Iran specialist Harold
Rhode and others at the Pentagon.”
They also asked
about Mr. Perle and Vice President Cheney`s assistant
David Wurmser, also a neoconservative hawk. As Sherlock
Holmes would say, the game`s afoot.[


Defense, Cheney Iran Specialists Questioned,
Washington Post,
Sep 3, 2004]

But the
reaction to the whole story from both the subjects of
the investigation and their buddies in the
neoconservative media has been to deny everything and
insinuate “anti-Semitism.”

“Friends and associates of the civilian group at the
the New York Times reports, “believe they are
under assault by adversaries from within the
intelligence community who have opposed them since
before the war in Iraq.”

The anti-Semitism card, always a favorite with neoconservatives,
was played almost immediately by neocon

David Frum,
the ex-speechwriter for President Bush
who gave the world the phrase “axis of evil” and
co-author of a recent book with Mr. Perle.

Mr. Frum`s

National Review Online
article that popped up
immediately after the spy case story broke was entitled

“Jewish Conspiracies in the Pentagon?”

Until then no one had mentioned anything about Jews.

What Mr. Frum and the “friends and associates” of the usual
suspects in the Pentagon are saying seems to be
virtually identical — as Mr. Frum put it, it`s all
those anti-Semites and “figures inside the US
government who want to see Israel treated, not as the
ally it is by law and treaty …but as the source of all
the trouble in the Middle East and the world.”

Well, maybe —
though it might be helpful if Mr. Frum or somebody could
actually name someone inside the government who`s
peddling “Jewish conspiracy” theories or
anti-Israeli policies.

So far no one
has. Their first and apparently only concern is not to
examine whether American espionage laws have been broken
and national security jeopardized by spies working for a
foreign power, but to deny, exonerate and ignore the
whole story, lobbing their usual smears along the way.

But the shoes that fit are leaving footprints that lead straight
back to the Wolfowitz-Feith-Ledeen-Perle-Frum axis
inside the Pentagon and perhaps to a massive foreign
espionage operation on the scale of

the Alger Hiss case
of the 1940s.

It would not be surprising if some very powerful people don`t want
those footprints followed too far.



Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

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