Sunday, July 05, 2009

Larry Franklin Interview Reveals Depth Of Anti-Semitism In Government

The Forward has an interview with Larry Franklin, the Pentagon analyst who in October 2005 pled guilty to conspiring with AIPAC officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman in obtaining and distributing classified information:
“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 believes that the kind of Anti-semitism he saw then was not an isolated incident and has developed over time:
Some in the government, he believes, “had some fantasy of a conspiracy” that had continued, unabated, after the 1985 arrest and 1987 conviction of Pentagon intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard on charges of spying for Israel.

According to Franklin, the investigators he dealt with believed “that Pollard had a secret partner, a mole, probably in the OSD.” This quest to expose the mole, Franklin said, was, in part, “energized by a more malevolent emotion — antisemitism.”

In part, it was also fed by a deep suspicion toward Israel. “In the intelligence community,” he said, “you refer to Israelis as ‘Izzis’ and it doesn’t have a pleasant connotation. They can’t get away with kikes, so they say Izzis.” This suspicion became clear to Franklin as he learned of the way investigators viewed activists of the pro-Israel lobby.
Read the whole thing.

The Anti-Semitism that Franklin points to became evident much earlier--back in 1997, when Army tank engineer David Tenenbaum, was accused in 1997 of spying for Israel. Last year, The New York Sun had an article on Tenenbaum's 11-year quest to clear his name:
This month, new details emerged when an independent watchdog organization called the Project on Government Oversight [link] published new internal documents relating to the Pentagon inspector general's investigation into the handling of the Tenenbaum case.

Among the documents is a presentation laying out the inspector general's findings. The presentation's third slide says, "Mr. Tenenbaum experienced religious discrimination when his Judaism was weighed as a significant factor in the decision to submit him for an increase in his security clearance."

The investigation then went on to quote several Pentagon officials involved in the case against Mr. Tenenbaum acknowledging that his religion and his contacts in Israel were grounds at least in part for launching the investigation against him. A discrimination suit brought by Mr. Tenenbaum was thrown out of federal court after the government requested the judge acknowledge that the Army would need to disclose state secrets in order to mount its defense.

According to a sworn affidavit of Mr. Tenenbaum, when he took his first polygraph test in 1997, his questioner said to him: "I have done other Jews before and gotten them to confess and I'll get you to confess too," and, "I can tell you are lying by looking into your eyes."

Jewish community leaders and former Defense Department officials say Mr. Tenenbaum's case represents a disturbing phenomenon.

"There are other cases that have been brought to our attention over the years. Often people are afraid to go public for fear of further retribution, but there clearly has to be a systemic approach to this and let justice be done for those who have been discriminated against," said the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein. "This case is a blatant example of discrimination that is tolerated within the system against Jews and perhaps others. For 11 years this innocent man has suffered and paid a heavy price, personally, financially, socially. There is no compensation that is adequate for that suffering." [emphasis added]

On the website of the Project for Government Oversight, they post an alert with links to documents:
The Project On Government Oversight has obtained a cache of documents from inside the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s Office that raises a variety of questions, troubling and even bizarre.
Here are some excerpts from one of the documents (PDF), with statements from some of the parties involved:
o "I also felt that he had natural religious and ethic (sic) sympathies which the Israelis could try to exploit."
Project On Government Oversight notes:

This statement is one example of the religious bias that existed as officials were deciding whether to request a pretextual upgrade of Tenenbaum's security clearance in furtherance of a counterintelligence investigation. When reviewed by LOIG DOD's Director of Employment & Equal Opportunity, this quote was found to be similar to quotes in cases in which juries found discrimination.
o "Yes...I believe that David's obvious love for culture and the land, his dream to anything that involved Israeli projects, people and consequently he spent more time with Israeli citizens than anybody else I know by far and I believe that John possibly others saw that as a risk."

o "[I] am assuming that if he were not Jewish he would not do all the things that he does, you know relative to Israel...if being a Jew is a package deal because he's a Jew he wants to do all of these things and he does all of these things with his family and yeah I think that played."
Obviously, this is a problem that is not going away.

[Hat tip: Powerline]

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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