Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

FBI Investigation of AIPAC Is Second Attempt to Curb Israel Lobby's Power

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

FBI Investigation of AIPAC Is Second Attempt to Curb Israel Lobby's Power

Article excerpt

According to the federal indictment of Steve Rosen, former foreign policy chief of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and AIPAC Iranian specialist Keith Weissman, Rosen has been under investigation since April 1999. AIPAC, Israel's principal U.S. lobby, claims that the lobby "itself" is not under investigation. This spin is intended to convince Americans that AIPAC should not be required to register as a foreign agent.

The investigation of AIPAC by the U.S. government-in the person of Paul McNulty, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia-is not the first attempt to blunt the power of the AIPAC colossus, which so far has been able to thwart all efforts to reach a solution to the Arab-Israel dispute that will preserve U.S. interests. In 1989 seven individual Americans sued the Federal Election Commission for failing to require AIPAC to publish details of its income and expenditures.

The complainants were James A. Akins, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia; George W. Ball, former deputy secretary of state (who has since died); Richard Curtiss, former chief inspector of the U.S. Information Agency and executive editor of this magazine; Paul Findley, former Republican congressman from Illinois; former Admiral Robert Hanks; this writer, former U.S. ambassador to Qatar; and Orin Parker, former president of the America-Middle East Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST). The complainants asserted that AIPAC was a political committee and, like others, should be required to publish its financial activities.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided against us, and we appealed to the DC Court of Appeals. Reversing the lower court's decision, the Court of Appeals accepted our position that AIPAC was required to publish the details of its finances.

AIPAC appealed the Court of Appeals decision to the Supreme Court in 1998. In our view, the Supreme Court dodged the issue by accepting AIPAC's argument that, as a "membership organization," it did not have to publish its finances. The Supreme Court sent the case back down to the original U.S. District Court.

Our position is that AIPAC may be a membership organization, but that it also is a political committee, and thus liable to open up its finances. The case currently is in limbo in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where-in "court time"-it again will be tried. If it follows the course of the first trial, it eventually will reach the Supreme Court again.

A lot will ride on that future Supreme Court decision. If it favors the complainants, AIPAC will have to make its finances public, and remove the veil of secrecy behind which it must hide in order to subvert the American political system in favor of Israel and against the United States.

This means it will have to reveal where it gets its current $35 million to $40 million annual budget, and to whom it gives the money. The American people have a keen sense of fairness, and they will be appalled at the tactics employed by the zealous fanatics who run AIPAC for the benefit of Israel, at great cost to the United States.

To the acute embarrassment of AIPAC, some or all of America's leading neocon names may figure in the forthcoming trial of Rosen, Weissman and former Pentagon Iran specialist Larry Franklin, who already has pled guilty to passing U.S. government secrets to Rosen and Weissman and to an Israeli Embassy officer, Naor Gilon. Former Deputy secretary of Defense Paul WoIfowitz, known as the "father of the Iraq war," is (safely? …

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