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Pentagon analyst faces new charge

Has been accused of leaking info to pro-Israel lobby group

From Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Pentagon analyst faces a new charge of knowingly and unlawfully possessing classified U.S. government documents at his home in West Virginia.

Larry Franklin was arrested May 4 on charges that in June 2003 he provided unauthorized persons classified information regarding potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

Law enforcement sources said Franklin passed along the information during a lunch with two people who at the time worked for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group.

The U.S. attorney's office in Martinsburg, West Virginia, filed the new charge Tuesday.

It said Franklin, an employee of the Defense Department, was authorized to have access to top secret information and allowed to carry such documents within an area that included Washington, Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia.

But he was not authorized to take them to West Virginia, the office said.

The new charge stems from 83 classified U.S. government documents found in a search of Franklin's home in Kearneysville, West Virginia, on June 30, 2004, said the U.S. attorney's office.

Each document had markers identifying it as classified, the office said, and all the information related to national defense.

Of the 83 documents, authorities said, 38 were classified "top secret."

According to an affidavit by an FBI agent who investigated the case, some of the documents were listed as a terrorism situation report from the Terrorism Threat Integration Center and classified as top secret.

Another document classified top secret was from the CIA concerning al Qaeda, according to the affidavit, which accompanied the original complaint filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia at the time of Franklin's May 4 arrest.

Classified as secret were CIA documents relating to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and a memorandum on Iraq, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Franklin worked on the Iran desk of the Pentagon's Office of Near East and South Asia, but it did not detail what information was allegedly transmitted illegally.

It said Franklin told FBI investigators during the search of his house last June that he provided classified information from a June 25, 2003, document to two individuals.

Franklin also disclosed classified information to a foreign official and members of the news media on other occasions, the affidavit said.

Franklin's lawyer at the time said his client was not guilty and would fight the unlawful disclosure charge.

The new charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Franklin was expected to make an appearance in a federal court on Tuesday.

A former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan Pollard, is serving a life sentence for passing classified material to Israel.

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