THE POST’S BRADLEY GRAHAM AND THOMAS RICKS also finger Pentagon staffer Larry Franklin (confirmed to me by two sources as well) as the FBI’s spy probe target in an article today.
About Franklin and his background, they write:
The name of the person under investigation was not officially released, but two sources identified him as Larry Franklin. He was described as a desk officer in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia Bureau, one of six regional policy sections. Franklin worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency before moving to the Pentagon’s policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement, the officials said. Franklin could not be located for comment last night.
There is a great deal we do not know about this case — and a lot will become clear when and if Franklin is formally charged with a crime.
One thing that needs to be sorted out was whether this alleged spy was a spy of ideology and conscience, or a spy for money.
If the allegations are true, was the spy passing on information that he himself thought might be useful to Israel? Or did Israel solicit this spy for a roster of wanted information?
Also, if the allegations against Larry Franklin turn out to be true on any of these fronts, one has to wonder whether there was some odd “double agent” things going on. Franklin worked closely with Douglas Feith and Harold Rhode, both movement neoconservatives embedded in the Pentagon and both strong advocates of Ahmed Chalabi. In fact, the official address of Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress was also the address of Doug Feith’s former law firm.
If Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress intelligence chief were a sieve to Iran, as seems to have been the case when Chalabi allegedly tipped off Iran that the U.S. had broken its codes, could Feith’s office have both been feeding intelligence to Israel and Iran at the same time? Was Israel trying to use Franklin and Chalabi to get intelligence from Iran, and the tip about the codes was a confidence building gesture?
It’s strange when reality is so much more dramatic than fiction — but this may be one of those cases. What is clear is that Douglas Feith, No. 3 in the Pentagon, had a cesspool of intelligence intrigue swirling in, around, and through his office — and he still has his job.
Lurking through much of this is Michael Ledeen, about whom we will be writing more later.
— Steve Clemons