Bookmark to del.icio.us
Digg It! new
AIPAC urges U.S. to shut Iranian Web site
By Yossi Melman
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is urging the United States government to disconnect an Iranian news site from American Internet servers, charging that the site has ties to terrorist organizations. The allegation is based on a report published by Haaretz last month.
According to the Haaretz report, the site, Baztab, published details about a month ago of what it termed "an interrogation" of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah on July 12. Baztab's report claimed that the soldiers had admitted that Israel planned a military attack on Hezbollah in September or October, and the kidnapping had foiled this plan.
Based on this report and other information published on the site, AIPAC concluded that Baztab, which is supported by an American server, has ties with a terrorist organization. It therefore asked the U.S. Treasury Department to order the site shut down
(CBS) CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.
60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.
At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.
CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."
This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."
The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?
With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been made aware of the case. The government notified AIPAC today that it wants information about the two employees and their contacts with a person at the Pentagon.
AIPAC told CBS News it is cooperating with the government and has hired outside counsel. It denies any wrongdoing by the organization or any of its employees.
An Israeli spokesman said, "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous." The suspected spy has not returned repeated phone calls from CBS News.
US May Cover Israel's War Costs
August 31, 2006 10:30 a.m. EST
Ryan R. Jones - All Headline News Middle East Correspondent
Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - A senior Bush administration official said Wednesday that if asked, the US is likely to grant Israel additional military aid to cover the costs of its recent war against Hezbollah.
The unnamed diplomat told The Jerusalem Post that "a request has not yet come," but if it does, "we would consider it seriously."
According to Israeli officials cited by the report, Jerusalem is hoping to fold its aid request into a larger American financial package aimed at helping to rebuild war-torn southern Lebanon.
The US official went on to say that Washington viewed Israel as the military victor in the recent conflict, but noted the Jewish state had lost from political standpoint.
"The people in Lebanon did not understand" Israel's need to attack certain civilian infrastructures, he said, "and that allowed Hezbollah to say Israel was punishing them," which "damaged Israel politically."
He suggested Israel begin to fix its image by initiating peace talks with Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, however, announced on Wednesday that his nation would be the last in the Arab world to make peace with the Jewish state.