Friday, May 13, 2005

OC Register on Spy Scandal

I have always liked the Orange Country Register (Southern California Newspaper). They are the first, and currently only, major daily to call for bringing home the troops. They are conservative, but have a strong libertarian tilt.

Alan Bock is an OC Register columnist I also like.

Here is today's op-ed (you must sign up, so I have copied it below).

A spy story worth watching

It will be fascinating to see just how tangled a can of worms is opened up with the arrest of Larry Franklin, a Pentagon analyst specializing in Iran. Mr. Franklin, who spent much of his government career at the Defense Intelligence Agency, is accused of passing along classified documents to two employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

It is unclear whether the U.S. government believes that these AIPAC employees subsequently passed the documents along to the government of Israel. The affidavit in support of his arrest warrant only claims "the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation."

What is significant about the case is that Mr. Franklin worked in the Office of Special Plans, run by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, who reported to then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The OSP is said to have functioned as a "shadow" intelligence service on Iraq, and to have provided much of the information to the White House that seemed to justify the American invasion of Iraq. Some wags have called it "Feith-based intelligence."

Will the Franklin case unravel a larger pattern of sloppy handling of intelligence, perhaps related to the ongoing case of Valerie Plame, the CIA officer who was "outed" in some news stories during the controversy about Saddam possibly seeking uranium in Niger?

Stay tuned.