Hold on for a second, and pay close attention: we have here a brand-new twist to an already labyrinthine spy tale. In 2005, Larry Franklin, the Pentagon’s former Iran desk officer, pleaded guilty to disclosing secret information on the U.S.’s Iran and Iraq policy without authorization to two members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and one official at the Israeli Embassy. However, Franklin now claims that he had in reality been spying on AIPAC on behalf of the FBI, before his FBI handlers turned on him and told him he would face espionage charges, which were later downgraded to the unauthorized disclosure charges. Specifically, Franklin asserts, after the FBI began investigating him in 2004 for allegedly leaking information to CBS News about prominent Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi’s Iranian ties, the Bureau asked him to go undercover to try to learn more about alleged Israeli spying, and to help it build a criminal case against the two AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. (These men were eventually indicted, but then saw all charges against them dropped this spring.) Tensions between Franklin and the U.S. government first arose when he dissented from Pentagon thinking that Iran could prove a help in the then-impending invasion and occupation of its neighbor, Iraq; Franklin believed Iran would refuse to help the U.S., and first established a relationship with the AIPAC and Israeli officials in an effort to influence U.S. policy in a manner aligned with his views on the matter.
This stuff is straight out of John le Carré. We hope to have more on it in the coming days.
EXCLUSIVE: Defense Analyst in Spy Case Was FBI Double Agent [Washington Times]