Lobby of Sin

This AIPAC vs. Steve Rosen story just keeps getting better and better. First there was all the admission that viewing porn is routine in AIPAC's office, one of the most surreal passages of the long deposition now available in PDF [8MB, cache]. It all starts at page 68, but some genius has made the passage into a cartoon with cute cartoon characters and put it on YouTube.

Unfortunately it's not viewable outside the US, but click on the image below for another version.

Then there was the admission Steve Rosen, five times married, used AIPAC offices for gay hookups. Well not exactly gay actually:

The Israel lobby gone wild - Israel - Salon.com

The putative purpose of the porn line of questioning was to establish that Rosen had not comported by AIPAC's standards for employees. Less clear is why AIPAC's attorney asked the married Rosen about his sexual encounters with men found on Craigslist. From Page 68:

Q If you had browsed the web for sexual encounters with gay men while at AIPAC , would that in your opinion be a violation of the computer usage policy at AIPAC?

A First, a technical correction. I actually sought married men like myself, not gay men, or I don't know what you mean by the word "gay men," but not men who were primarily living the life that's referred to as the gay community and so on.

We also find out about Rosen's reaction when he found out he would be charged with espionage:

From: AIPAC On The Brink: And Not One Word In MSM | TPMCafe

Beyond the smut, the most shocking revelation in the court documents is when Rosen reveals that immediately upon being told by the FBI that he was in serious trouble, and being warned by AIPAC's counsel to come immediately to his office and talk to no one in advance, he immediately ran to meet with the #2 at the Israeli embassy!

And also about the generosity of major donors to AIPAC and other pro-Israel and/or Jewish organizations decided they would back the man accused of espionage (and who has pretty much admitted to passing on classified information to Israeli diplomats). 

From: AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback vs. Defamation Suit - Forward.com:

The court documents also shed light on Rosen's attempts to support himself and his family after being fired from AIPAC. The former lobbyist, as the depositions indicate, received cash gifts from several prominent Jewish philanthropists, among them some who are also major donors to AIPAC. The list includes Hollywood mogul Haim Saban, one of AIPAC's key funders, who gave Rosen a total of $100,000; Daniel Abraham, founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, who gave Rosen, his wife and three children gifts of $5,000 to $10,000; and philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, who paid off a college loan for Rosen's daughter. The list includes several other backers, including two described as "bundlers" who raised up to $200,000 for Rosen from other donors.

But of course the real scandal is how much this reveals about the way AIPAC works. The embarassment from the sexual content of the testimony is not much compared to AIPAC avoiding a full FBI investigation into the way it does business and its established practice of passing on confidential or classified information to spin for Israel. As Grant Smith writes:

As Rosen and AIPAC tussle in court over the organization’s long history of using classified national defense and economic information for the benefit of their foreign principal, Americans must begin to ask some very serious governance questions. Why won’t the mainstream media cover any aspect of the defamation suit? Shouldn’t this matter have been resolved in a bona fide criminal setting in 2009 rather than being surrendered by prosecutors under the watchful eye of Obama political appointees? Why wasn’t AIPAC itself indicted for espionage? And most important of all, why isn’t AIPAC properly registered as a foreign agent of the government with which it breaks bread (and chocolate) on Fridays?

Prominent Democrat Rep. sought influence for AIPAC in Rosen affair

Great story from Congressional Quarterly on a secret probe into Congresswoman Jane Harman, a Democrat with longstanding interests in intelligence issues, who promised a suspected Israeli agent involved in the Steve Rosen AIPAC scandal that she would try to intervene on AIPAC's behalf:
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington. Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript. In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win. Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.” . . . But according to the former officials familiar with the transcripts, the alleged Israeli agent asked Harman if she could use any influence she had with Gonzales, who became attorney general in 2005, to get the charges against the AIPAC officials reduced to lesser felonies. Rosen had been charged with two counts of conspiring to communicate, and commnicating national defense information to people not entitled to receive it. Weissman was charged with conspiracy. AIPAC dismissed the two in May 2005, about five months before the events here unfolded. . . . But that’s when, according to knowledgeable officials, Attorney General Gonzales intervened. According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times. Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program He was right. On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.” Pelosi and Hastert never did get the briefing. And thanks to grateful Bush administration officials, the investigation of Harman was effectively dead. Many people want to keep it that way. . . . Harman dodged a bullet, say disgusted former officials who have pursued the AIPAC case for years. She was protected by an administration desperate for help. “It’s the deepest kind of corruption,” said a recently retired longtime national security official who was closely involved in AIPAC investigation, “which was years in the making. “It’s a story about the corruption of government — not legal corruption necessarily, but ethical corruption.”
In other words, deep infiltration of the US political system by Israel and a supine Bush administration who could not take this on because it needed the AIPAC bunch's support.
Read More