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The U.S. is dropping 4-year-old charges against two former lobbyists for AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) charged with conspiring to give secret information to Israel. The two, Keith Weissman and Steven Rosen, had won the right to call as witnesses top officials to testify that the US itself has often used AIPAC in this manner to pass information to Israel.
The case originally broke in the summer of 2004, and in August of 2005 the two were indicted on charges of "conspiracy to communicate national defense information to people not entitled to receive it." Rosen was also charged with actually communicating classified information.
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.
Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.
In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.
Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”