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Times on Franklin/AIPAC

Steve Clemons gets in some good licks on The New York Times's use of Michael Ledeen as a source for this article on the Franklin/AIPAC thing. I have more complaints. The Times reports that "Aipac has dismissed the accusations as baseless." But they haven't. That's what they want you to think. AIPAC has denied that its staffers have committed any crimes. As I've noted before, this is because what they're alleged to have done isn't illegal. If someone leaks me classified information and I pass that on to my friends in a foreign government, I may be a shady dude or a bad patriot, but I'm not a criminal. Rather, the person who leaked the information to me is a criminal. AIPAC is issuing "non-denial denials" of a classic sort, denying something they aren't accused of while remaining silent on the actual accusation.

Ledeen's argument, meanwhile, "If they have a case, why hasn't anybody been arrested or indicted?" reflects a similar unfamiliarity with what's going on. Larry Franklin, for example, hasn't been arrested or indicted because he's been flipped and is now cooperating with the FBI counterintelligence probe. In general, the point of a counterintelligence probe is not mainly to bring criminal charges (remember all that stuff about how we can't have a "law enforcement approach" to our problems) but to bring an end to the problem. Indictments may be brought at some point, or threatened in order to gain cooperation, but the point is to shut down the leak pipeline and gain an accurate picture of what's going on.

September 6, 2004 | Permalink


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