Israel Lobbyists Charged in Secrets Case

(New York Times) David Johnston - Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, formerly senior staff members at AIPAC, were charged in an indictment filed Thursday with illegally conspiring to gather and disclose classified national security information to journalists and an unnamed foreign power that government officials identified as Israel. AIPAC dismissed the two men last April. Rosen and Weissman have denied any wrongdoing. They operated in a foreign policy world in which private lobbyists, public officials, and journalists often trade delicate information about executive branch decision-making that is related to other countries. The indictment said the two had disclosed classified information about American policy in Iran, terrorism in central Asia, al-Qaeda, and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Rosen, said: "The charges in the indictment announced today are entirely unjustified. We expect that the trial will show that this prosecution represents a misguided effort to criminalize the public's right to participate in the political process." The indictment does not suggest that AIPAC, as an organization, is suspected of any wrongdoing. Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for the group, said: "AIPAC dismissed Rosen and Weissman because they engaged in conduct that was not part of their jobs, and because this conduct did not comport in any way with the standards that AIPAC expects of its employees. AIPAC could not condone or tolerate the conduct of the two employees under any circumstances. The organization does not seek, use, or request anything but legally-obtained appropriate information as part of its work."

2005-08-05 00:00:00

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