AIPAC Challenged in Court Over Espionage and Theft of Classified Report Investigation

Jan 11, 2011, 14:52 ET from Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The following was released today by IRmep:

On January 10, 2011, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was challenged in the District of Columbia Superior Court over its past receipt, duplication and redistribution of U.S. government classified documents.

AIPAC, defending itself from plaintiff and former employee Steven J. Rosen's $20 million defamation suit, attempted to minimize its role as the target of an FBI investigation conducted between 1984 and 1987.  At issue was whether AIPAC's past receipt, use, and duplication of a U.S. government classified report secretly delivered by the Israeli embassy constituted wrongdoing.  The classified document, Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel, Investigation No. 332-180 was a compilation of "business confidential" information the International Trade Commission and US Trade Representative solicited from U.S. industry and worker groups.  The report was part of the advice and consent deliberative process over whether the U.S. should enter into a bilateral trade agreement with Israel.

On January 3, 2011, AIPAC filed statements in court about the "USTR document obtained by AIPAC in 1984" claiming "…following an FBI investigation of the matter, AIPAC was cleared of any wrongdoing and the document that framed the basis of the investigation contained no classified national defense information."  AIPAC then filed a copy of an August 13, 1984 FBI Washington Field Office investigation summary, first obtained by author Grant F. Smith under the Freedom of Information Act in 2009, to substantiate its claims.

Smith, author of the 2009 book "Spy Trade" disputed AIPAC's claims in a 52-page legal brief filed yesterday.  "The Defendant fails to mention that the investigation of AIPAC…grew in intensity for another two and a half years…as a theft of government property investigation since it involved AIPAC's possession of U.S. government information classified at the level of 'confidential.'"  Smith's full filing, available at substantiates growing claims that AIPAC is still liable for hundreds of millions in economic damages suffered by 74 organizations that provided the confidential business information circulated by AIPAC.  According to Smith, "The Defendant describes AIPAC's possession of..[the classified report] and the FBI investigation as 'ancient' and 'irrelevant to this action.'  Nothing could be further from the truth.  To the contrary, the negative consequences of AIPAC's possession of this particular classified document grow more obvious and disturbing every year."

Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy