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The Martyrdom of Chas Freeman

Failing the Israel Lobby’s Litmus Test

It was a cold, blustery day in Washington, D.C., when the spies met their mark.  The place: Union Station.  The mark: one Lawrence Franklin, then a 56-year-old Iran specialist who worked as a top official at the Pentagon.  Franklin was convinced that Israel was being shortchanged by the United States, and that Iran posed a real threat to U.S. troops in Iraq.  He had already divulged reams of classified information, including sensitive data about Al Qaeda, U.S. military operations in Iraq, and information about the 1996 Khobar Towers attack—but his handlers wanted more, and he was quite willing.  Franklin, described by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “an ideologue who believes wholeheartedly in the neo-conservative approach,” was later found to have secured an entire library of classified documents in his Arlington, Virginia, home, a treasure trove for his handlers.  Now, on March 10, 2003, he was going to meet them—Steve Rosen, the chief lobbyist at the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Keith Weissman, AIPAC’s top point man on Iran—outside Washington’s busy Union Station.  Like something out of a spy novel, in the early morning hours, “the three men moved from one restaurant to another restaurant, and then finished the meeting in an empty restaurant.”

Are spies usually such picky eaters—or were they just afraid of being...

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