Tuesday, May 08, 2007

minimal damage to AIPAC

* justin has a good new piece about the AIPAC trial:
"A recently unsealed defense memorandum details a Feb. 16, 2005 colloquy between Rosen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and Nathan Lewin, AIPAC’s legal counsel, in which the latter reveals that Paul McNulty—then the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia and chief prosecutor in the case—“would like to end it with minimal damage to AIPAC.” Lewin told Lowell, “He is fighting with the FBI to limit the investigation to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and to avoid expanding it.” This is hardly the behavior one would expect of contemporary anti-Dreyfusards in the Justice Department plotting to scapegoat AIPAC and the Jews.
Efforts to embarrass the administration go beyond accusing DOJ and extend to prominent figures such as Condoleezza Rice, who is accused by Abbe Lowell of leaking national defense information to AIPAC as Franklin did. Gen. Anthony Zinni is being targeted in a similar manner. Both have been subpoenaed, along with David Satterfield, deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Iraq, and William Burns, U.S. ambassador to Russia, to testify. If Rosen and Weissman are going down, the Israel lobby seems to be saying, then so are a lot of prominent people—some of whom, like Zinni, just happen to be their enemies.

This isn’t greymail, it’s blackmail. It was Zinni, after all, who said of the Israel lobby and the neoconservatives: “I think it’s the worst-kept secret in Washington. Everybody—everybody I talk to in Washington—has known and fully knows what their agenda was [during the run up to the Iraq War] and what they were trying to do.”
The defense has fought to get the case against Rosen and Weissman thrown out on any number of grounds: the Espionage Act is unconstitutional, it doesn’t apply to their clients but only to government officials, and, last but not least, it’s a violation of the Israel lobby’s First Amendment “right” to betray classified information to its masters in Tel Aviv. Twisting and turning, threatening and spitting, delaying as best it can, the defense has tried to wriggle out of it every which way, to no avail. The trial is going forward, and the public spectacle of the biggest espionage scandal involving Israel since the prosecution of Pollard could deliver a body blow to the Israel lobby at a time when it has come in for public scrutiny and criticism as never before."