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Pentagon analyst passes secrets on potential iraq attacks { May 4 2005 }

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Pentagon Analyst Charged With Passing Secrets

By Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 4, 2005; 1:09 PM

A policy analyst who worked in the office of the undersecretary of defense was arrested today and charged with illegally disclosing classified information relating to "potential attacks" on U.S. forces in Iraq, the Justice Department announced.

In a statement and an FBI affidavit, the government said Lawrence Franklin, 58, passed information to two unnamed individuals at a restaurant in June, 2003. He also is accused of disclosing information to an unspecified "foreign official" and to unnamed members of the news media.

The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official said the people at the lunch were employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Neither the statement nor an accompanying affidavit mentions AIPAC.

Franklin is a career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency who specializes in Iran and has served in the Air Force Reserve, rising to colonel. Early in the Bush administration, Franklin moved from the DIA to the Pentagon's policy branch headed by Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, where he continued his work on Iranian affairs.

The investigation of Franklin had been previously reported in connection with the April dismissal of two senior employees of AIPAC, one of Washington's most influential lobbying organizations. The employees were reportedly suspected of passing classified information received from Franklin to the government of Israel.

Specifically, the FBI was looking into how the two men obtained a draft presidential directive on Iran.

The FBI raided AIPAC's offices in Washington twice last year, obtaining computer files and serving grand jury subpoenas on four senior executives.

Officials and colleagues have said previously that Franklin had traveled to Israel frequently, including while on duty in the Air Force Reserve, where he served as a specialist in foreign political-military affairs. He may have been based at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on those tours, said a former co-worker at the DIA, but was never permanently assigned there.

Today's announcement, while saying the investigation was continuing, did not specify what information Franklin is accused of disclosing, except that it was top secret and "related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq." It alleges that on June 26, 2003, "Franklin had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington" with two individuals to whom he disclosed the classified information telling them that it was "highly classified" and asking them "not to 'use it.' "

In June of 2004, authorities searched Franklin's Pentagon office and found the document "containing the information that Franklin allegedly disclosed to the two individuals," the statement said.

They also searched his home in West Virginia and found "approximately 83 separate classified U.S. government documents" spanning three decades. "At no time was Franklin's house an authorized location" for the storage of such documents, the statement said.

After the searches, the affidavit said, Franklin agreed to a voluntary interview with FBI agents in which he "admitted that he provided the classified information" contained in the document found in his office.

Franklin's lawyer did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment.

2005 The Washington Post Company

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