Former Pentagon analyst guilty in plot to give secrets to Israelis

NATION DIGEST

October 06, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- A former Pentagon analyst on Iran pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to channel classified Defense Department secrets to an Israeli embassy official and a pro-Israel lobbying group.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, told the court he did so out of frustration with a particular U.S. policy in the Middle East, without going into detail. He faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

As part of a plea agreement reached with federal authorities, Franklin is to cooperate in the coming prosecution of two recently fired officials of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who were indicted for conspiring to receive and disseminate the classified information.

Prosecutors and U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty would not comment on what kind of cooperation Franklin is supposed to provide. They also would not say whether the Justice Department is investigating whether anyone else was involved in such a criminal conspiracy, including representatives of the Israeli government and its embassy.

Franklin, a former Pentagon Iran desk officer, was indicted in May and again in August, on federal charges of passing classified information to two top AIPAC officials and to an undisclosed official from the Israeli embassy in Washington.

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