Larry Franklin speaks

Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin pled guilty in October 2005 to participating in a conspiracy with AIPAC officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman to obtain and distribute classified information. The Justice Department dropped the case against Rosen and Weissman last month as the trial approached. (I take that summary from Josh Gerstein’s recent story on the AIPAC case.)

Franklin broke his silence on the AIPAC case in an interview with Nathan Guttman reported in the Forward. Guttman reports:

Franklin’s narrative of his ordeal, which started off with him being described on national news as the “Israeli mole” in the Pentagon, reflects a mixture of naiveté, frustration with government bureaucracy and a deep belief that his views must be heard, even if it meant breaking the rules. In retrospect, it was a practice in humility for the devout Catholic military analyst.

“I’ve learned a lot by crawling on the ground,” the 62-year-old father of five said in his first interview since the affair began in 2004. The lessons that Franklin has learned from his experience include the capacity by his colleagues and partners for — as he sees it — betrayal, and the persistence, he has concluded, of deep-rooted antisemitic sentiment in certain quarters of America’s intelligence community.

“I was asked about every Jew I knew in OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense], and that bothered me,” Franklin said. His superiors at the time were both Jewish: Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, whom Franklin believes was a target of the investigation. “One agent asked me, ‘How can a Bronx Irish Catholic get mixed up with…’ and I finished the phrase for him: ‘with these Jews.'” Franklin answered, “Christ was Jewish, too, and all the apostles.” “Later I felt dirty,” he added.

Why the reticence regarding the name of Franklin’s interrogator? Too much of the story of the AIPAC prosecution remains to be told.

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