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Friday, November 2, 2007

Rice To Face Subpoena in AIPAC Spy Case

Rice to Face Subpoena in Espionage Case

Judge Approves Subpoenas for Rice, Other Officials in Israeli Spy Case

WASHINGTON Nov 2, 2007 (AP)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior intelligence will be subpoenaed to discuss their discussions with pro-Israel lobbyists, a federal judge ruled Friday in an espionage case.

Lawyers for two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists facing espionage charges have subpoenaed Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams and several others to testify at their trial next year. Prosecutors had challenged the subpoenas in federal court.


FBI Seizes Computer From AIPAC Offices

AIPAC and Espionage: Guilty as Hell

AIPAC trial judge authorizes defense to subpoena Rice, Hadley

By Shmuel Rosner

The United States judge presiding over the trial of two former staffers of a pro-Israel lobby who are accused of giving Israel classified information approved Friday subpoenas for top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former senior staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), are accused of conspiring with a former Pentagon analyst to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, including foreign government officials, policy analysts and the media.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia has approved 16 of the 20 subpoenas of current and former officials requested by the defense.

Rosen and Weissman had asked to subpoena the officials, with whom they held meetings, saying "the testimony of these persons will negate the government's contention that the information defendants obtained and disclosed was NDI [National Defense Information] by showing that this information was neither closely held by the U.S. government, nor were the disclosures of this information damaging to the U.S."

The defendants argue that the U.S. government's use of AIPAC as a "back channel" to advance U.S. foreign policy goals calls into question whether they could have been expected to know that they were committing a crime by passing on the information.

The government opposed 16 of the requests, including those to call Rice and Hadley to testify.

The judge overruled most of the objections, saying the "defendants are entitled to show that, to them, there was simply no difference between the meetings for which they are not charged and those for which they are charged ... and that they believed that the meetings charged in the indictment were simply further examples of the government's use of AIPAC as a diplomatic back channel."

Rosen's attorney Abbe Lowell issued a statement on both defendants' behalf praising the ruling, saying it would help the defense prove that his client's behavior was both "lawful" and "completely consistent" with the practices of AIPAC.

The trial has been scheduled to begin in January.

Among the other subpoenas approved were for White House deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz and former undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith.

A former Pentagon analyst, Lawrence Franklin, has pleaded guilty in the espionage case to disclosing information to Rosen and Weissman from early 2002 through June 2004. Ellis also approved a subpoena for Franklin.

Asked about the Rice subpoena, U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said, "We are not going to comment on an ongoing legal matter. I would refer you to the Department of Justice."

A Justice Department spokesman had no comment.


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