The big set-up

Haaretz  reported yesterday  that charges, possibly under the Espionage Act of 1917, will be filed very soon by the Justice Department against two former AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen, and Keith Weissman. The most disturbing part of the story is buried within the Haaretz article. The FBI had apparently been trailing Rosen for 4 years, before his fateful lunch with Defense Department official Larry Franklin in the summer of 2003, the meeting which initially put Franklin in the hot seat. At that time, Franklin reportedly told the AIPAC officials that US soldiers in Iraq might be targeted by the Iranians. 

The length of  time the FBI tailed Rosen means the investigation of him began during the Clinton Administration. One has to wonder exactly why the FBI saw fit to devote such extensive resources to this long investigation and monitoring of Rosen, who will apparently be charged because of his transmission of information he received a year later, during an FBI sting conducted with Franklin's assistance in 2004. It is hard not to see this as entrapment. When the FBI spends 4 years investigating somebody, there seems to be a need to nab that individual, even if the 'crime' has to be one they set up.

The story also indicates that when Rosen heard from Weissman about Franklin's 'set—up' story in 2004 — that Israelis working in the Kurdish area of Iraq would be targeted for kidnapping by Iran, he informed not only an official at the Israeli embassy, Naor Gilon (who apparently will not be accused of any crime — he merely received information that he did not solicit), but also a Washington Post reporter (Glenn Kessler), and an unnamed US government official.

Something does not smell right about this whole affair. No one is claiming yet that American interests were in any way harmed by the transmission of whatever information Franklin first passed to Rosen and Weissman in 2003, or in the bogus 'set—up' story that Franklin passed to Weissman in 2004. In fact, Haaretz reports that the Espionage Act has never been used in this manner before:

'The estimated 500 cases involving prosecution of this crime over the last 90 years have always focused on the accused party initiating receipt of the information and on the damage done to the U.S. as a result. In this case, Franklin initiated the transferal of information — and there is no clear—cut evidence regarding the damage done to the U.S.'

But this is clear: the Rosen investigation began well before the 9/11 catastrophe. Why was the FBI so fixated on Rosen and AIPAC, and so uninterested in Saudi nationals all of a sudden taking flight lessons all over the country?