Lawrence Anthony Franklin

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Lawrence (Larry) Franklin is a former Iran specialist at the Defense Intelligence Agency who worked in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and reported directly to Feith's deputy, William Luti. He is a close associate of the neoconservatives Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen.[1] Franklin was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on January 20, 2006 on the charges of spying for Israel. [2] He was caught by the FBI passing classified documents on Iran to an Israeli diplomat and two members of the Israel Lobby group AIPAC, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. During the espionage trial Franklin received pro bono legal representation from Plato Cacheris, a lawyer arranged by Ledeen. (Cacheris also represented Monica Lewinsky and the FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who spied for Russia).[1]

Before moving to the Middle East division in early 1990s, Franklin was a Soviet analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He learned Farsi and became an Iran analyst, developing extensive contacts among Iranians who opposed the Tehran government. [3] During his stint in the Air Force Reserve he served two short tours at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv.[4]

Espionage and Allegations of Treason

According to James Bamford, Franklin feared a detente with Iran in the leadup to the war against Iraq. '[M]oderates in the Bush administration were "covertly negotiating for Iran to stay quiet and offer help to refugees when we go into Iraq"' Bamford reveals, 'Franklin — a devout neoconservative who had been brought into Feith's office because of his political beliefs — was hoping to undermine those talks.'

Unable to win the internal battle over Iran being waged within the administration, a member of Feith's secret unit in the Pentagon was effectively resorting to treason, recruiting AIPAC to use its enormous influence to pressure the president into adopting the draft directive and wage war against Iran.[5]

By the elbow of the President

According to Bamford, 'Rosen, recognizing that Franklin could serve as a useful spy, immediately began plotting ways to plant him in the White House — specifically in the National Security Council, the epicenter of intelligence and national security policy. By working there, Rosen told Franklin a few days later, he would be "by the elbow of the president."...Knowing that such a maneuver was well within AIPAC's capabilities, Franklin asked Rosen to "put in a good word" for him. Rosen agreed.'[5]

Draft Iran Directive

The classified document that Franklin allegedly passed to AIPAC concerned a controversial proposal by Pentagon hard-liners to destabilize Iran. The latest iteration of the national-security presidential directive was drafted by a Pentagon civilian and avid neocon, Michael Rubin, who hoped it would be adopted as official policy by the Bush administration. But in mid-June, Bush's national-security advisers canceled consideration of the draft, partly in response to resistance from some at the State Department and the National Security Council, according to a recent memo written by Rubin and obtained by The American Prospect. No doubt also contributing to the administration's decision was the swelling insurgency and chaos of postwar Iraq.[6]


External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jeffrey Goldberg, Real Insiders, New Yorker, 4 July 2005
  2. [1][2].
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. James Bamford, Iran: The Next War, Rolling Stone, August 10, 2006
  6. Cloak and Swagger, Laura Rozen and Jason Vest, The American Prospect, 1 November 2004.