WASHINGTON - The FBI arrested former Pentagon executive Larry Franklin Wednesday on suspicion of passing information to the U.S. pro-Israel Jewish lobby AIPAC.
Following a short court appearance, Franklin was released on a USD 100,00 bail and was instructed to hand over his passport and personal weapon.
An FBI official said Franklin passed confidential information to AIPAC’s recently fired executives Steve Rosen and Keith Wasserman as well as to Naor Gilon, a senior diplomat in the Israeli embassy in Washington.
Gilon has just ended his three-year tenure in the Washington office.
The official added that the charges were partially based on a meeting Franklin had with AIPAC representatives and the Israeli diplomat in June 2003.
Iran expert was a double agent
The investigation was launched after FBI officials suspected truth behind rumors of a senior double agent in the Pentagon .
At the time, a Pentagon official reported that Iran analyst Larry Franklin, who worked at the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense, was the mole.
According to unconfirmed reports, the FBI launched an investigation last year after agents started tailing Gilon. They discovered his ties with Franklin, Rosen and Wassermann, when the group met in a restaurant.
Initial findings indicate that charges against Franklin are minimal, however, it is not clear whether he will be accused of transferring written information to AIPAC personnel, which carries a more serious charge.