The US Justice Department is considering dropping charges of illegally disclosing national defense secrets against two former AIPAC staffers.
Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman from the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were in 2005 indicted for passing along secret US documents to Israel in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act.
Among other things, they had attempted to supply Israel with information on the US policy in Iran, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
Government officials on Tuesday revealed that the Justice Department is uncertain about the chances of proving the case after a number of recent rulings in favor of the suspects spawned legal complications, AFP quoted sources close to the case as saying.
The belated trial is likely to miss its June 2 date.
Rosen is looking at 20 years in prison while Weissman could be handed a 10-year sentence. The two have already managed to enforce their right to summon senior former officials to court including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.
The report came after revelations about a wiretapped conversation during which California congresswoman Jane Harman had promised the powerful lobby to help nullify the accusations in exchange for aide for assuming the headship of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Herman has denied having held any such conversation and denounced the eavesdropping as "abuse of power".
The case against former AIPAC staffers has raised ire among Israeli lobbies.
The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, two top Jewish lobby groups in the US, have been pressuring the Justice Department to reconsider its case against Rosen and Weissman.
AIPAC, considered the most powerful and connected lobbying group in Washington, has been subject to controversy in the past.
In 1992, the group's then president David Steiner was forced to resign after he was recorded boasting about his political influence in obtaining aid for Israel.
Steiner claimed to be "negotiating" with the incoming Clinton administration over who Clinton would appoint as Secretary of State and Director of the National Security Agency.
AIPAC is a "de facto agent for a foreign government", whose "success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it," University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt from the Harvard University argue in their book: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Former President Jimmy Carter has also accused AIPAC of putting enormous pressure on politicians running for office who do not share AIPAC's goals. source
1 day ago