Franklin Faces Additional Charges
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Former Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin faces additional charges of spying. He'd already been indicted for giving classified information to pro-Israel lobbyists. Now authorities have unsealed charges that Franklin passed government secrets to an official from a foreign embassy. NPR's Larry Abramson reports.
LARRY ABRAMSON reporting:
Retired Air Force Reserve Colonel Larry Franklin worked for the Defense Department as a specialist on Iran. Last month, the government charged him with giving classified information to two employees of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. They have since been fired. The government said that Franklin disclosed information about threats to US forces in Iraq. The two former AIPAC employees have not been charged, and up until now the government of Israel has strenuously denied that it had anything to do with the affair.
But an indictment unsealed in federal court on Monday says Franklin also met with an official from an unnamed foreign government. That country has been identified in press reports as Israel. The two men met to discuss a Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program. That country is also not identified, but both Israel and the US have been very concerned about Iran's nuclear program.
At one meeting at a coffeehouse in Washington, DC, according to the indictment, Franklin gave the embassy official classified information related to a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq. The US and Israel have been concerned about efforts by Iran to launch attacks against US forces in Iraq. The Israeli Embassy is closed for a religious holiday and had no response.
The indictment also adds detail to the charges that Franklin allegedly spilled secrets to former AIPAC officials Keith Weissman and Steven Rosen. It describes how the three men met in the summer of 2002 and how Weissman and Rosen cultivated Franklin, whom they prized as a real insider. It describes how Franklin asked for a home fax number so he could safely transmit information from a classified draft internal policy document. Larry Franklin has pleaded not guilty to all charges and faces trial in September. Larry Abramson, NPR News, Washington.
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Correction June 30, 2005
Former Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin hasn't been charged with spying, as the story says, but is charged with passing government secrets to unauthorized persons.