The past couple weeks have seen a swirl of anonymous allegations of supposed spying and espionage, including implications that the Pentagon civilian staff might be teeming with double agents for the Jewish state.
Thing is, almost none of it is true.
Beyond mishandling of classified documents?not an inconsequential offense, to be sure?every other accusation leveled by unnamed State Department and intelligence officials appears part of a carefully calculated campaign to question the loyalty of several Pentagon civilian employees by name, as well as a much larger group by implication.
According to someone with intimate knowledge of the draft presidential directive that low-level Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin allegedly leaked to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the document contained no sources and no methods. It had no sensitive material of any kind. It was nothing more than a policy paper?just a few pages that resembled an opinion-editorial?advocating tougher diplomacy, not war, in dealing with Iran.
Why was it marked ?secret?? Nearly every document emerging out of that Pentagon office was stamped secret?the lowest grade of secrecy. A memo about an office Christmas party would probably be classified secret too.
If guilty, Franklin should be appropriately punished. But what about others who are inexplicably being lumped into the same smear campaign?
Bandying about words like ?espionage? and ?spying,? as many news outlets have, serves the goals of the State Department and the CIA, the mortal policy enemies of the hawks at the Pentagon. But unlike previous leak campaigns, State and CIA?s latest effort may have crossed into dangerous territory.
Most politically appointed administration officials on the foreign policy team who support President Bush?s agenda seem to have at least an uneasy feeling that the anonymous smear campaign flirts dangerously close to classic anti-Semitic libels.
Others are of decidedly less mixed opinion. Says one official, ?It is not a witch hunt; it is a pogrom.?
Looking at the media coverage, particularly that of the Washington Post, and the reported conduct of the investigation, it is not difficult to understand the officials? concern.
Though Franklin is Catholic, few articles mention that he is not Jewish, and none from the Post do so. He is far down the food chain, yet almost every story identifies him as an employee of Feith, who is Jewish, even though the undersecretary for policy is some six levels removed and oversees over 1,000 subordinates.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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