Friday, November 2, 2007

'AIPAC Spy Trial Alert: Executive Privilege to the Rescue?'

An e-mail bulletin I received today from IRmep:

Today, according to the JTA, Judge T.S. Ellis ruled against most of the prosecution team's efforts to limit Rosen and Weissman's broad subpoena list of high government officials in the prosecution of the former AIPAC officials.

The prosecuting attorneys wanted to block the 16 subpoenarequests including the testimony of Secretary of State Rice and Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser, allowing only four. Others that Rosen and Weissman may now subpoena include Elliott Abrams, former Iran Contra conspirator convicted on two counts of misleading Congress and Bush's top adviser on Middle East policy, Richard Armitage, and Paul Wolfowitz.

While compelled testimony from the authors of the most disastrousforeign policy in the nation's history may seem to be a welcome rayof light, it is unlikely to ever happen. The defense may be counting on this as a "graymail" strategy to get the case thrown out, therebyavoiding the embarrassment of current and former officials. Judge Ellis gave AIPAC reason hope it may work. It is likely that the subpoenaed witness will not appear on grounds of "executive privilege". If Ellis reads the news, he knows that this has already occurred when Bush administration officials refused to appear before Congress to discuss the firing of US attorneys. If thishappens again, the case against AIPAC will be over, as Judge T.S. Ellis plainly stated:

"The government's refusal to comply with a subpoena in these circumstances may result in dismissal or lesser sanctions."

As readers of the case analysis in IRmep's book "Foreign Agents" know, there are multiple concurrent behind-the-scenes efforts to get this case thrown out. New legislation purporting to strengthen "protection of reporters" and the possibility that government agencies won't declassify enough of the wiretap and surveillance data documenting Weissman and Rosen's alleged espionage activities are only two. The US attorneywho originally brought the charges against Rosen and Weissmanunwound the very guidelines that kept the prosecution moving, before hewas jettisoned in the ensuing Attorney firing scandal.

In a new development, our examination of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's prosecution record also indicates additional alliesof AIPAC may help drop the case. While hard on convicted terrorists, Mukasey's sentencing docket reveals a light touch for tie-bearing criminals. If confirmed, he would be very likely to order US Attorneys to drop the case entirely.

In "Foreign Agents" we document the sordid history of AIPAC, an organization that since its founding has routinely flouted important US laws including Foreign Agent registration, the Logan Act, electionlaws, and most recently the 1917 Espionage Act. It is now more likely that AIPAC will not face any criminal consequences for employing espionage as a tactic to influence US policy development on Iran. However, the generally underreported details of the trial should not escapethe attention of citizens committed to cleaning up Washington.

For an extensive analysis of this case, consult chapter #5 "AIPAC on Trial"

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