Are the feds getting ready to drop the case against two former AIPACers?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

James Besser in Washington

In a week that also saw startling allegations about a prominent Jewish congresswoman who may have offered to intervene to help the defendants, federal prosecutors are considering dropping the cases of two former AIPAC officials facing trial in a controversial Espionage Act case,  according to a Washington Post report.

In a late-day news flash, the Post reported that the “review of the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman was triggered by a series of recent court rulings that make it harder for the government to win convictions,” not by this week’s controversy over a possible role by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)

The two former AIPAC officials are charged with obtaining secret government information and passing it along to Israeli officials and reporters.

The oft-postponed trial is scheduled for June 2, but a growing number of Jewish activists are convinced the government has been looking for an excuse to drop a case that seemed more about the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy than about “espionage” and that seemed to leave the presiding judge unimpressed.

On Tuesday Harman demanded that federal officials release the full transcripts of the wiretaps connected to the case.

“I am outraged to learn from reports leaked to the media over the last several days that the FBI or NSA secretly wiretapped my conversations in 2005 or 2006 while I was Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee,”  Harman wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, according to the Post.  “This abuse of power is outrageous and I call on your Department to release all transcripts and other investigative material involving me in an unredacted form. It is my intention to make this material available to the public.”

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.