U.S. Indicts Aide for Iran Info to Israel Washington

MENL - June 14, 2005

A U.S. Defense Department analyst has been indicted on charges of relaying information on Iran's nuclear program to Israel.

A federal indictment has accused Lawrence Franklin with passing classified information and documents about a Middle Eastern country to two employees of an organization as well as a diplomat from an unnamed country. The two employees were said to have worked for an Israeli lobbying group and the diplomat came from Israel.

Franklin, a 58-year-old analyst at the Pentagon's Iran desk, was charged with four counts of communicating national defense information to unauthorized persons and two counts of conspiracy.

The indictment does not name those who received the information. But two employees of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee were previously identified as having obtained information from Franklin regarding Iran.

In 2003 and 2004, the indictment said, Franklin maintained contact with the foreign diplomat and divulged classified information regarding the unnamed Middle Eastern country. The indictment said Franklin transmitted the classified data "in an effort to advance his own career, advance his own personal foreign policy agenda, and influence persons within and outside the United States government."

The indictment suggested that the information came from U.S. intelligence interception of Iranian communications. Franklin was not said to have conducted his activities in secret, instead used his office phone and fax.

In a Jan 30, 2003 meeting with the diplomat, Franklin was said to have discussed Iran's nuclear program. The indictment said the two men had maintained phone contact for several months.

"The subject of the discussion at this meeting was a Middle Eastern country's nuclear program," the indictment said.

The indictment said Franklin continued to meet the diplomat at the Pentagon's Officer's Athletic Club. The subject at a May 23, 2003 meeting was said to have been Iran's nuclear program and Western policy.

"At this meeting, the two discussed issues concerning a Middle Eastern country and its nuclear program and the views held by Europe and certain United States government agencies with regard to that issue," the indictment said.

In early 2004, Franklin was said to have met a former Israeli intelligence official. The indictment said Franklin provided the former official with information on an Iranian nuclear test.

"At this [June 8, 2004] meeting, the defendant provided the FO [foreign official] with classified information he had learned from a classified United States government document related to a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq," the indictment said. "The defendant was not authorized to disclose this classified information to the FO."

  • See Also: The Franklin/AIPAC Spy Case Page