Justice Department to Drop Espionage Case Against AIPAC Lobbyists

300px-aipac_logoThe Justice Department is moving to dismiss the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman for espionage. The two men are former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Recently, Rep. Jane Harman was swept into a scandal when it was revealed that she was intercepted by the NSA alleging bargaining to help get the case dismissed in exchange for AIPAC’s help in securing the Chair position on the House Intelligence Committee.

The case was problematic in the extreme interpretation adopted by the Bush Administration that threatened to sweep journalists, academics, and others into the criminal system for merely receiving classified information, here and here.

The men were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information — the first non-government civilians to be charged under the 1917 espionage statute with verbally receiving and transmitting national defense information.

The dismissal of the lawsuit will come as a great relief to major D.C. players who were expected to be called as witnesses, including former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, former national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, and former high-level Defense Department officials Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith.

For the full story, click here.

14 thoughts on “Justice Department to Drop Espionage Case Against AIPAC Lobbyists”

  1. I attended the AIPAC dinner Monday night together with around 7,000 others and it was awesome.

  2. Mespo

    Money? Being neatly laundered? By whom? By Americans on behalf of Israel?

    I think if you really knew what AIPAC is and does for real and followed the trail of money you’d see that the $$ go from here to there. Not there to here.
    What the US shares with Israel is more than just a strategic interest in the region. We share transfer of knowledge and research.
    Ever take generic drugs? Have a cell phone? both technologies initiated in Israel.

    I had a great conversation a few years ago with the actual guy, the first MD researcher ever to imagine what embryonic stem cells might be used for.

    We share more with Israel than you might imagine.
    but I have to wonder, do you mean Jewish money in the way I think you might mean it? If not apologies in advance.

    I am also unsure of what you mean by indirect funding of graft with regard to any specific stature. Could you elaborate.

  3. QOS:

    The problem as I see it is that the money is neatly laundered by American citizens serving as conduits. The indirect funding of graft is the problem the statute seems impotent to stop.

  4. QoS,

    After you said this, I realized that you were correct.

  5. The Federal Elections Campaign Act already prohibits contributions from foreign nationals in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States. Penalties can range from fines to imprisonment.

    “Foreign nationals” are defined in the Act as:
    Foreign governments;
    Foreign political parties;
    Foreign corporations;
    Foreign associations;
    Foreign partnerships;
    Individuals with foreign citizenship; and
    Immigrants who do not have a “green card

    Congressional Republicans went after Clinton for accepting money from Chinese corporations; Democrats tried to go after Bush for accepting foreign contributions, but the Bush Justice Dept. wouldn’t investigate, and last October the Republicans made a huge brouhaha over Obama’s acceptance of contributions from ill-defined representatives Gaza.

    For all these presidential campaigns to have been involved in questionable fundraising activity and for all of them to have escaped serious investigation, much less penalties, enforcement of FECA prohibitions obviously leaves a lot to be desired.

  6. Isn’t the larger question this: were those guys spies or not? If not, and the Justice Dept says they are not then what’s the big deal? Do we not have enough spies, real and imagined, imprisoned?
    As for Jane Harmon, I doubt that anything will happen to her, special or otherwise. She, after all, did say that she supported illegal wiretapping and the rest is up to the voters in her district. This makes her quite vulnerable in 2010. Any opposition to her is sure to have begun making campaign ads about this like yesterday.

    I’m hoping that there will be plenty of pain for former Bushco beneficiaries once Eric Holder and the Senate Judiciary Comm. get subpoenas out for torture. Why don’t we spend our time and capital choosing something that can happen if enough people band together to endorse this?

    Btw Dredd, while AIPAC is a large and influential organization they don’t influence elections directly or have any influence over which rep is assigned to what committee and if they get to chair that committee or not. Their main purpose is to make sure that we protect our strategic interests in the Middle East while insuring safety for the Israeli people. They are having their annual Policy Conference in D.C. this coming week. I think it begins MOnday, but you can certainly find out more about them at their website.

  7. Messpo727272,

    Public Trust, does that mean that any monies received by Rep Harman will be returned to the Department of Treasury? Yeah Right.

    I think that Foreign Campaign contributions should be banned. Oh heck, whats your problem with a little “Gifts, Grafts and Gratuities and if she were a Judge it would be Gavel, Robes and Honorariums.”

    Man o Man you are trying to upset the Food Chain, the Ecosystem in Place, the payola. For that sir, you have invited an Audit for the last 7 years.

    Only Kidding.

  8. I think the beneficiaries are those holding the public trust like Rep. Harman. I don’t think it’s a matter of “favorable” [favored?] countries or not, euros spend just like shekels. The problem is foreign campaign contributions that I would immediately ban. We have enough domestic bribery and don’t need to branch out internationally.

  9. Messpo727272.

    Well hell yeah. Do you think espionage would be so lucrative if somebody did not benefit? Just too bad that some folks that really need the money get busted when its not a “favorable” country.

    I apologize if I offended anyone with the above remark.

  10. Anon.:

    “Are you saying “Who Benefits”


    Like my avatar, I am always asking, “Who benefits?” I think there are other more prominent but less visible beneficiaries.

  11. mespo727272


    Que Bono?
    Are you saying “Who Benefits”

    Apparently, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman for the alleged espionage and right now, Rep. Jane Harman. It has not been stated what will happen to what the NSA has against her.

  12. Quid Pro Quo: Now Wheres My Dough?

    Not bad, so if you spy for the Government of Israel and receive classified information then all is good?

    Does it matter how much money that you obtain? Does it matter if you get a better position? Does it matter if you do not claim whatever received in value or services or cold hard cash on your income taxes? Is that money or services technically tax exempt because it it came from the CIA operations budget, a Foreign Government or it is cash and its hard to trace?

    I have an “Enquiring” Mind and I want to know?

Comments are closed.