FBI briefs Wolfowitz on Israeli spy claim

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The Independent US

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, has been briefed on the FBI's investigation into a Pentagon analyst suspected of passing US secrets on Iran to Israeli officials.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, has been briefed on the FBI's investigation into a Pentagon analyst suspected of passing US secrets on Iran to Israeli officials.

Media reports over the weekend have forced the FBI to accelerate its probe into Larry Franklin, a former attache to the US Embassy in Israel and a staffer in the office of Douglas Feith, the defence department's undersecretary for policy

Mr Franklin was yesterday described by law enforcement officials as cooperating with the FBI's investigation.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Mr Franklin passed classified material about Bush administration policy on Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the major Israeli lobbying group in Washington, and whether Aipac in turn passed it to Israel.

Aipac has acknowledged that the FBI has interviewed some of its employees but denies any wrongdoing. "We've cooperated in this investigation. We think there is nothing to it," said Nathan Lewin, an Aipac attorney.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said yesterday that meetings between Israeli embassy employees and US officials are commonplace, and that the two governments routinely share secrets.

Israeli officials confirmed a senior Israeli diplomat identified as Naor Gilon, head of the Israeli Embassy's political department in Washington, has met with Mr Franklin. Mr Gilon told the Israeli newspaper Maariv that he did nothing wrong but was concerned that he may no longer be able to work in Washington because of the investigation.

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