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Monday, November 22, 2010

Ex-AIPAC head says lobby illegally traffics in classified information as routine; Hush money payoffs made to sabotage government prosecution?

Ex-AIPAC official got at least $670,000 from donors

(The Washington Post) -- by Jeff Stein --

The latest episode of the AIPAC spy scandal turned sordid last week, with the pro-Israeli lobby releasing its deposition of fired official Steven J. Rosen in which he confesses he engaged in extra-marital sex and watched pornography on his office computer.

But largely buried beneath such tawdry details was an admission arguably far more damaging to Rosen’s drive to prove the organization ruined his professional life: that major Jewish donors supported him with hundreds of thousands of dollars during the four years after his dismissal in May 2005...

The payments stopped in 2009, Rosen says, when the government dropped its case against him and another AIPAC official, saying it couldn’t make an espionage case against them...

Rosen portrays the pornography issue as a red herring, contending that government attorneys stampeded the organization into firing him by playing its officials a selectively edited portion of a wiretapped conversation that made him look like he knew he was illegally trafficking in classified Pentagon documents.

Within hours, the organization announced it was firing Rosen because such alleged behavior “did not comport with standards that AIPAC expects of its employees.”

Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

“I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail. “Most instances of actual receipt are hard to document, because orally received information rarely comes with classified stamps on it nor records alerts that the information is classified.”

But Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] ... was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

AIPAC, he said, “will make denials. The jury will have to decide who is telling the truth -- I am.”...MORE...LINK
Steve Rosen spent much, if not most of his work time, recruiting federal employees, mostly at the Department of Defense, to reveal classified information that would be of interest to Israel. When he recruited such an employee or secured such information he pretty much went directly to his “handlers” in the Israeli embassy to whom he passed the information or contact. The very first person with whom he met after being the FBI confronted him and warned that he might be arrested was NOT his own attorney or anyone from Aipac, but the deputy director of the Israeli embassy. Such warning, allowed Israel to roll up its espionage-intelligence operation and spirit Naor Gillon out of DC so he would not be arrested and thus embroil Israel directly in the controversy. As the Forward notes in its report, this fact may be a very important one since if Rosen was following the procedures and directives of Aipac in summoning the Israeli for the meeting and warning him about the investigation, then Aipac is in effect an accessory to Israeli intelligence operations in this country and not a fully independent American lobbying venture...MORE...LINK

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