FBI Probe

27 August 2004, CBS News

CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.

At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.

CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."

This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."

The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?

With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been made aware of the case. The government notified AIPAC today that it wants information about the two employees and their contacts with a person at the Pentagon.

AIPAC told CBS News it is cooperating with the government and has hired outside counsel. It denies any wrongdoing by the organization or any of its employees.

An Israeli spokesman said, "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous." The suspected spy has not returned repeated phone calls from CBS News.

27 August 2004, NBC News
Pete Williams and Robert Windrem

The FBI is investigating whether a high-ranking Defense Department official passed sensitive information to Israel through an Israeli lobbying group, authorities told NBC News on Friday.

U.S. officials described the target of the investigation, whom they would not identify, as a “fairly senior Pentagon official.”

The Associated Press, quoting two federal law enforcement officials, reported that the person works in the office of Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy. Feith is a key aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, working on sensitive policy issues, including U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran.

No arrests are imminent, but the investigation is nearly complete, authorities said. “It’s a big deal,” one of them told NBC News.

Agents said they had evidence that the official passed sensitive information, including draft policy documents and presidential policy directives, to Israel through the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

Agents have asked AIPAC for information in connection with the inquiry, officials told NBC News. CBS News, which first reported the investigation Friday afternoon, said AIPAC was cooperating with the probe.

A spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington said: “We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous.”

AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group that is widely influential in Washington, said in a statement that it was cooperating with the investigation and that the accusation was “baseless and false.” 

“We would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of U.S. law or interests,” it said.

If the senior official is charged, it would be the biggest Israeli spy case since U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was arrested in November 1985.  Pollard is serving a life sentence despite frequent requests from Israel to release him.

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