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Pentagon analyst accused of passing secrets

From Kevin Bohn
and Terry Frieden

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Espionage and Intelligence

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was arrested and charged with providing classified information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Law enforcement sources said the the information was provided to members of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Franklin turned himself in to the FBI in Washington, and was scheduled to appear in court in Alexandria, Virginia, later Wednesday, officials said.

A one-count criminal complaint does not identify by name the pro-Israel group AIPAC, but describes the June 26, 2003, luncheon meeting in which Franklin allegedly disclosed top-secret information to two individuals known to be associated with the organization. Law enforcement officials have acknowledged the information was provided to AIPAC members.

The court document states that Franklin worked on the Iran desk of the Office of Near East and South Asia, Office of Northern Gulf Affairs. However, the complaint provided no details on what information was illegally transmitted.

"A search of Franklin's Pentagon office in June 2004 found the June 2003 classified document containing the information that Franklin allegedly disclosed to the two individuals," the Justice Department announcement said.

The criminal complaint says Franklin admitted to FBI investigators in a June 30, 2004, interview that he provided the classified information contained in a June 25, 2003, document to two individuals. The charging document says Franklin also disclosed classified information to a foreign official and members of the news media on other occasions.

"Approximately 83 separate classified U.S. government documents were found during a search of Franklin's West Virginia home in June 2004. The dates of these documents spanned three decades," the Justice Department said.

Franklin has been at the center of a lengthy FBI and Justice Department investigation into possible spying involving Israel and several officials of AIPAC.

The charge of disclosing classified U.S. national defense information carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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