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Monday, August 30, 2004

So Very Khan-esque

Or maybe it's just me. An article in today's NY Times has more on the Franklin investigation. It's mostly a backgrounder on Franklin himself, along with a discussion of yesterday's repeated denials by AIPAC (who were hosting a "welcome party" and convention kick-off in NYC yesterday, by the way), but what immediately leaped off the screen at me was this:

The Pentagon official under suspicion of turning over classified information to Israel began cooperating with federal agents several weeks ago and was preparing to lead the authorities to contacts inside the Israeli government when the case became publicly known last week, government officials said Sunday.

The disclosure of the inquiry late on Friday by CBS News revealed what had been for nearly a year a covert national security investigation conducted by the F.B.I., according to the officials, who said that news reports about the inquiry compromised important investigative steps, like the effort to follow the trail back to the Israelis.

As a result, several areas of the case remain murky, the officials said. One main uncertainty is the legal status of Lawrence A. Franklin, the lower-level Pentagon policy analyst who the authorities believe passed the Israelis a draft presidential policy directive related to Iran.

Franklin had already been been flipped (as Laura Rozen had speculated yesterday), and was cooperating with the FBI. Until the investigation was leaked to the press last week, compromising the whole endeavor. Compromised, leaked, by whom is the fundamental question here. It seems it was definitely someone looking to stop the investigation in its tracks. Someone who knew of the investigation in the first place, obviously.

I could speculate on where that leak may have originated, but I won't. If there were some sort of precedent, say, of particular agencies leaking information to the press to achieve positive or negative political goals, that would be a very good indicator, though.

[Update] Word has it that the leak originated in the FBI field office in New York. How far up? Don't know. Not yet, anyway.

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