It looks like a jail sentence might not have been all that Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon official convicted of spying for Israel, had to fear in recent years.
Court documents filed last week suggest a Sopranos-like effort to get rid of Franklin, who had agreed to testify against two former AIPAC activists, CQ‘s Jeff Stein reports.Franklin’s lawyer, Plato Cacheris, told Stein:
Somebody approached Larry and suggested it would be good if Larry could disappear and fake a suicide, and this person would assist him in doing that.
And Franklin himself made clear to Stein that he took it as a threat:
I grew up on the streets of New York, and when you fake a suicide — Well, if you’re dead to everyone else, it’s a lot easier to get rid of you….Did I let him know I took it that way? No. Did I take it that way? Internally, yes.
Franklin’s description of the incident seems to suggests that it was an effort by pro-Israel extremists to prevent or discourage him from testifying against the former AIPAC activists, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. Writes Stein:
“It was in West Virginia. I was parking cars at the time. He came to see me at the Charles Town Race Track. He said, ‘Let’s go to lunch and talk about raising money for my defense.’
“And we talked about all these rich people,” Franklin continued. “But first I had to agree to a scheme…
“I was going to go somewhere, and it was going to be arranged that I could occasionally meet my wife. It was supposed to be on a bridge.”
“No,” he said. “Florida.”
Franklin added that the man who approached him was “definitely a Zionist,” meaning that “he’s beyond good and evil. They’re not subject to the laws the rest of us are.”
Franklin was charged with giving classified information to suspected agents of Israel — Rosen and Weissman — and in 2006 was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison. That was later reduced to probation and 10 months house arrest, thanks to his cooperation with the feds. The charges against Rosen and Weissman were dropped earlier this year.