Last June, leading neoconservative Richard Perle received an unexpected phone call at his home. It was Larry Franklin calling. Franklin is the veteran Iran specialist in the Pentagon's Near East South Asia office and the key Iraq War planner who had been pressured by the FBI into launching a series of counterintelligence stings. Perle, a former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, was an architect of the 2003 Iraq War.
Franklin, who never had phoned before, asked Perle to "convey a message to Chalabi" in Iraq, according to sources aware of the call. Ahmad Chalabi is the embattled president of the Iraqi National Congress. He is currently at the vortex of a Pentagon-intelligence community conflict over pre- and post-war policy, but is still endorsed by neoconservatives, such as Perle.
Something about Franklin's unexpected call struck Perle as "weird," according to the sources. Why was Franklin calling?
David Szady, the senior FBI counterintelligence official currently heading the controversial investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is well-known to senior Jewish communal officials, who assert he has targeted Jews in the past.
Now, an investigation reveals that Szady was involved in a well-publicized case involving a Jewish former CIA staff attorney who sued the FBI, the CIA and its top officials for religious discrimination. Although not named in the suit, Szady headed the elite department that former CIA Director George Tenet admitted in 1999 was involved with "insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate" language regarding the case of attorney Adam Ciralsky.
Living in the Radom ghetto in central Poland, Saul Friedman applied for work in 1942, and for the next two years cleaned a building and labored in a peat bog for the German army.
He earned no money, but received something much more valuable extra food rations. When the ghetto was finally liquidated in 1944, he was sent to an Auschwitz satellite camp, then to Mauthausen, and after liberation came to the United States.
Friedman, 85, is one of thousands of other survivors in the United States, Israel and elsewhere, who are now entangled in a bureaucratic hassle over a recent German law meant to benefit a little known class of survivors.
Over the past few weeks, as the anniversary of Sept. 11 approached, the FBI and the Department of Justice, along with investigative reporters at CBS, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, have focused their resources on what they must figure is a real threat to American security: the folks at AIPAC.
Hours after CBS News first reported that federal officials were investigating a possible Israeli "mole" at the Pentagon, the first analysis hit the wires claiming that the emerging scandal wouldn't damage U.S.-Israel relations.