Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So Larry Franklin just wanted to stop the war

Congressional Quarterly has a fascinating interview with Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon analyst who was the only one who ended up getting a sentence in the Israeli spy scandal. Franklin, you may remember, was charged with passing classified information to two AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were presumably expected to pass it along to Israel. Franklin got 13 years (later reduced to probation. The Rosen/Weissman trial was expected to be a sensation, but the charges were later dropped.

Franklin, his life pretty much ruined (he was mopping floors at a Roy Rogers restaurant), says he was trying to discourage the U.S. from invading Iraq. As an Iran specialist, he had access to information suggesting Iran was planning to disrupt things and kill Americans if the invasion went forward. Money quote:

"But back in 2003, with the invasion of Iraq only weeks away, he was desperate to persuade the White House to put on the brakes.

"So when Steven J. Rosen, an official with the American-Israel Public affairs Committee (AIPAC), told Franklin that he was friendly with Elliott Abrams, head of the Middle East desk in the White House National Security Council, Franklin said he "jumped at the chance" to get the information to him.

"As it turned out, however, the FBI had an open investigation of Israeli espionage in Washington, going back to the 1990s."

Franklin says he didn't realize at the time that the information he passed on was classified. I'm not sure if I credit this story or not. As much of a warhawk as Elliott Abrams was, it doesn't seem likely that having information about Iran's intentions would be likely to cause him to urge the Bushies to put on the brakes -- let alone the likelihood that the White House would have listened even if a war whooper like Abrams suddenly began urging caution. But maybe Larry Franklin didn't know this or knew a different side of Abrams.

But maybe this is the real story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With a "friend" like Israel the United States doesn't need an enemy.