I haven’t yet been able to comment on the breaking news last night that the FBI is investigating whether an employee at the OSD, Larry Franklin, passed classified US government information to Israel. That is because my colleagues and I have a piece coming out on the subject which will, hopefully, be appearing later today in The Washington Monthly.
A few thoughts though about this story.
I’m told the evidence the FBI has on Franklin — at least on the narrow facts of the case — is quite strong and involves wire tap information, though why a career DIA analyst like Franklin would allow himself to get tripped up on a phone call mystifies me.
The main focus thus far has been on the highly sensitive and troubling allegation that an ally, Israel, was spying on the United States or the recipient of classified information from a US government official.
However, I strongly suspect that as this story develops the bigger deal will be less the alleged recipient of the information, Israel, than the country that is the subject of the information, Iran.
I don’t mean to imply that it’s an either/or. It can very much be both. But the reportage thus far has understated the degree to which this is an Iran story — it grows out of the simmering and unresolved administration battle over policy toward Iran.