In 1987, Jonathan Pollard, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for life for selling a roomful of U.S. secret documents to Israel. Tel Aviv refused to return them. At the Clinton-Netanyahu summit at Wye River, Pollard became a subject of contention.
“Bibi” Netanyahu wanted to fly the American traitor back to Israel where he is a hero. Clinton balked. CIA’s George Tenet would resign, Clinton told Netanyahu, if he pardoned Pollard.
This history is recalled for a reason. Washington today is rife with reports the FBI has been investigating whether or not a nest of Pollardites inside the Pentagon has been funneling secrets, through the Israeli lobby AIPAC, to the Reno Road embassy and on to Sharon.
Suspected mole Larry Franklin, a Pentagon Iranian analyst, was reportedly sighted trying to hand over to an AIPAC official a draft copy of a National Security Presidential Directive on Iran. With the mullahs apparently pursuing atomic bombs, Israel wants the United States to attack, denuclearize and bring down its No. 1 enemy, the regime in Tehran.
Franklin popped up on FBI radar when he joined a breakfast meeting between an AIPAC man and an Israeli diplomat. AIPAC had been under FBI surveillance for over two years as a probable conduit to Israel of the fruits of espionage against the United States.
Franklin, a devout Catholic and hawk on Iran, is now said to be cooperating with the FBI. His boss, William Luti, is the deputy to the Pentagon’s No. 3, Douglas Feith, who has close ties to Likud.
According to The Washington Post, the FBI is now interviewing present and ex-officials from Cheney’s office and the Pentagon as to whether Feith, Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Paul Wolfowitz might have leaked U.S. security secrets to Israel, AIPAC or Ahmed Chalabi.
Chalabi, once the Pentagon’s candidate to succeed Saddam, has lately fallen from favor. Reportedly, he was caught telling Iran’s intelligence station chief in Baghdad that friends in the Pentagon informed him they had broken Iran’s code and were listening in on Iran’s secret communications between Baghdad and Tehran.
AIPAC and the Israelis deny any spying. Cooperation between the Bush and Sharon governments is so close, they insist, there is no need to commit espionage or thieve U.S. documents. Perhaps, but the men about whom the FBI is inquiring have old, deep and questionable ties to Israel and the Likud Party of Ariel Sharon.
In 1970, Perle was picked up on an FBI wiretap discussing NSC secrets with the Israeli embassy. In 1981, as assistant secretary of defense, Perle got a top-secret security clearance for his chosen deputy Stephen Bryen, who is said to have narrowly eluded indictment for offering top-secret documents to Mossad’s man in Washington.
In 1982, Feith was the object of an inquiry as to whether he had given secret documents to the Israeli embassy. Fired from the NSC, he was hired by Perle. Feith left the Pentagon in 1986 to form a law firm — in Israel. Hired by Rumsfeld in 2001, Feith set up the Office of Special Plans, which cherry-picked the intelligence to the White House that turned out to be false, but facilitated the war on Iraq.
In 1996, Perle, Feith and Wurmser co-authored a paper for Netanyahu calling for ditching Oslo, reoccupying the West Bank and overthrowing Saddam as “an important Israeli strategic objective.”
In 1998, Wolfowitz and Perle signed an open letter from the neoconservative front group PNAC to Clinton, urging him to ditch diplomacy and wage war on Iraq, and pledging their full support.
On Jan. 1, 2001, eight months before 9-11, Wurmser, at AEI, called for joint U.S.-Israeli air strikes on Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya.
According to White House anti-terror chief Richard Clarke, Wolfowitz, in April 2001, wanted Osama put on a back burner and for us to go after Iraq. In the first hours after 9-11, according to Bob Woodward and Clarke, Wolfowitz wanted Iraq invaded, not Afghanistan. For his role in steering us into war, Wolfowitz was named Man of the Year — by the Jerusalem Post.
In my new book, Where the Right Went Wrong, there is a line that now appears prophetic: “America needs a Middle East policy made in the USA, not in Tel Aviv, or at AIPAC or AEI.”
Having promised him a cakewalk to Baghdad and a rose garden thereafter, neoconservatives misled President Bush. He should have fired the lot of them. Having failed to do so, he ought now, in his own interests, as well as our nation’s, name Patrick “Bulldog” Fitzgerald, now heading up the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak, to head up the investigation of Israeli espionage, and possible treason, against the United States.
If there has been a recurrence of Pollardism at the Pentagon, we need to know and the president needs to act, as Truman did not with Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White.
Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail], former presidential candidate and White House aide, is editor of The American Conservative and the author of eight books, including A Republic Not An Empire and the upcoming Where the Right Went Wrong.