From what has been reported over the past week on the FBI's spy probe into the activities of senior AIPAC lobbyists, Israeli diplomats, and a mid-level Iran analyst named Larry Franklin who hails from the neoconservative stronghold of Douglas Feith's policy shop in the Pentagon, it is hard to escape the impression that the story is more of a smear campaign than an espionage investigation.
It is true that it is still early and perhaps the press-crazed FBI will seek indictments of one or more of the suspected bad guys on some charge or another before this story is quietly filed away like the loud and groundless investigations of CIA employee Adam Ciralsky and US Army civilian engineer David Tenebaum in the late 1990s. Both men, who were accused of spying for Israel, are currently suing the US government for discrimination, claiming they were placed under investigation simply because they are Jews, informs Jerusalem Post.
The FBI probe is actually much broader, according to senior U.S. officials, and has been under way for at least two years. Several sources familiar with the case say the probe now extends to other Pentagon personnel who have a particular interest in assisting both Israel and Chalabi, the former Iraqi dissident who was long a Pentagon favorite but who has fallen out of favor with the U.S. government.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is highly sensitive and involves classified information.
There appear to be at least two common threads in the multifaceted investigation. First, the FBI is investigating whether the same people passed highly classified information to two disparate allies -- Chalabi and a pro- Israel lobbying group. And secondly, at least some of the intelligence in both instances included sensitive information about Iran.
The broader investigation is also looking into the movement of classified materials on U.S. intentions in Iraq and on the Arab-Israeli peace process, sources added, writes San Francisco Chronicle.
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