Saturday, February 9, 2008

April 29th Is Way Bigger Than GTA IV!!! - Tell Your Friends!

Top Spies To Be Called In AIPAC Trial
By Nathan Guttman
The Forward

In the upcoming trial of two former pro-Israel lobbyists, the witness stand will likely alternate between top Bush administration officials called by the defense lawyers and top spy agency officials called by the prosecution.

The government prosecutors have revealed their plans for witnesses in a number of recent filings in their case against the two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, both of whom have been accused of passing classified information.

The lawyers for lobbyists Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman have long said that they will call to the stand Bush administration officials in order to prove that all information received and passed on by the defendants was already known and in some cases even reported in the media.

The case against Rosen, former policy director of AIPAC, and Weissman, the lobby’s Iran specialist, surfaced in the summer of 2004 and was followed by raids on the AIPAC headquarters in Washington. The two senior staffers were accused in an indictment of receiving classified information from Larry Franklin, a Pentagon staffer who had been in touch with the AIPAC defendants for several years. Leading up to the indictment, Franklin cooperated with the government in a sting operation.

The classified information provided by Franklin to the staffers referred to threats to the lives of Israelis operating in the Kurdish region of Iraq. According to the indictment, Rosen and Weissman rushed to pass along the information to Israeli diplomats as well as to other AIPAC officials and members of the press.

The opening of the trial has been postponed repeatedly, due to the lengthy process of debating how much information will be presented in court. The government has tried to limit the release of transcripts and documents, arguing that classified information might be revealed during the trial.

Now, though, the pretrial stage of the case is nearing its end, with almost all the issues surrounding the use of classified information during the trial settled. If no appeal is filed, the trial will begin April 29 and will last several weeks. This timing would, coincidentally, bring a verdict close to the date of AIPAC’s annual policy conference, scheduled this year for June 2.

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