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Israelis refuse to testify about Israeli agents in Pentagon

Israelis won't testify in AIPAC trial

The three Israeli diplomats who were in touch with former AIPAC staffers now standing trial in Virginia are unwilling to cooperate with defense attorneys and do not intend to agree to come and testify in the case.

In a court hearing on September 19 at the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Judge T.S. Ellis asked attorney Abbe Lowell, who is representing Steve Rosen, the former policy director of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), if he intends to summon any foreign nationals to testify in court. The term "foreign nationals" in this case refers to Israelis, who were mentioned in the indictment as having contacts with Rosen and with the second defendant, Keith Weissman, a former Iran specialist at AIPAC.

Lowell told Judge Ellis that he has been in touch with attorneys for the Israelis and that his impression is that it will be difficult to get them to testify.

"They are not going to make this very easy," Lowell told the court.

The indictment, accusing Rosen and Weissman of conspiring to communicate classified information, mentioned three "foreign officials" that received information from the two former AIPAC employees as well as from the third defendant in the case, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin. Though the they were not named in the legal documents, Israeli and US sources confirmed that two of the Israelis involved in the case are Naor Gilon, who was the political officer in the Israeli embassy in Washington, and Rafi Barak, who served as the Deputy Chief of Mission. US sources said the third Israeli is presumed to be a representative of the military intelligence in Washington, but his identity was not confirmed by other sources.

All three Israelis are no longer in Washington and all have diplomatic immunity, which prevents them from being subpoenaed by either side in the case.

The FBI is interested in interviewing the three Israelis, but the US and Israel had not yet reached an understanding regarding the method with which the interviews will be conducted. In the beginning of August, a team of Israelis, headed by Foreign Ministry legal adviser Ehud Keinan, met in Washington with representatives of the Department of Justice and the State Department. The Israelis suggested that the investigators pass on their questions in writing and Israel will give a written reply. The US has not yet indicated whether it would agree to this suggestion.

In the September 19 preliminary hearing dealing with disclosure of evidence in the case, the prosecution refused to allow the defense to review all wiretap tapes of Rosen and Weissman phone calls. The prosecutors told the court that some of the wiretaps were ordered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and indicated that the taps were of "the defendants and third parties".

The indictment suggests that these "third parties" were probably Israeli diplomats who have been under US surveillance for years. All the communications between 1999-2001 listed in the indictment involved Israeli officials, a fact that suggests that the initial targets of the surveillance were Israeli diplomats. A senior Israeli intelligence source said when the case broke out last August that he would not be surprised to learn that the US is following Israeli representatives and that it is a "working presumption" for all Israeli diplomats that their calls and meetings are monitored by the FBI.


Jerusalem Post, "Israelis won't testify in AIPAC trial", 2 October 2005.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 02 October 2005.

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Tags: Israel, spying, America, Israeli, spies, Pentagon, Israeli, agents, Mossad, Israelis, refuse, testify, AIPAC, , conspiracy theories.

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