FBI Investigation of AIPAC Reportedly Has Been "Expanded"

In 1999 the FBI began an investigation of Steve Rosen, foreign policy director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the Israel lobby’s Iran specialist, Keith Weissman. The two AIPAC wheeler-dealers were indicted on Aug. 4, 2005 under the seldom-used Espionage Act. Since then their trial date has been postponed several times, but now seems likely to begin in early 2007 in Alexandria, at the Federal District Court for Eastern Virginia.

Meanwhile, across the Potomoc in Washington, DC, another sensational case involving AIPAC has surfaced. According to the Oct. 20 issue of Time magazine, the Department of Justice and the FBI have an “ongoing” investigation into whether Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) and AIPAC arranged for wealthy donors to lobby House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (also D-CA) on Harman’s behalf, and whether in return Harman agreed to help persuade the Bush administration to go lighter on Rosen and Weissman.

Time described the Harman/AIPAC investigation as a “spin-off” of the investigation that led to the charges against Rosen and Weissman, as well as to a 12-and-a-half year prison sentence against Larry Franklin. The former Pentagon Iran specialist pleaded guilty to improper disclosure of classified information about the Middle East to the two AIPAC lobbyists, who in turn were indicted for passing it on to a journalist and to a foreign government–”in the words of Time magazine, “believed to be” Israel.

Relations between the neocon-ish Harman and the House Democratic leader soured when Harman learned that Pelosi planned not to reappoint her to the House Intelligence Committee. As the committee’s ranking minority member, Harman stood to become chair if the Democrats won the House in the November elections.

The spurned Harman embarked on an aggressive campaign to persuade Pelosi to reappoint her. According to Time, the alternative LA Weekly reported that Harman “had some major contributors call Pelosi to impress on her the importance of keeping her as head of the House Intelligence Committee. These tactics did not endear Harman to Pelosi.”

Among those who called Pelosi on Harman’s behalf, according to Time, was billionaire Zionist Haim Saban.

Harman has hired GOP super lawyer Ted Olson, a former solicitor general, because, Olson told Time, “she is not aware of any such [FBI] investigation, does not believe it is occurring and wanted to make sure you and your editors know that as far as she knows, that’s not true…No one from the Justice Department has contacted her.”

The New York Times of Oct. 24 and the following day’s Washington Post carried articles on the AIPAC/Harman affair, although both denigrated the matter. The Jewish Forward of Oct. 27, however, saying the investigation has been “expanded,” described the controversy as “explosive.”