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Pentagon Worker Under Investigation for Spying for Israel - 2004-08-28

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is reported to be checking the possibility that a Pentagon employee has been passing secret information to Israel.

U.S. media reports indicate the FBI suspects a Pentagon analyst of passing classified materials to a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington. The sensitive documents dealt in part with U.S. policy toward Iran.

Information on policy debates are alleged to have been passed to two employees of the pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who then supplied the information to Israel.

Both AIPAC and the Israeli Embassy have called the allegations false and outrageous. An AIPAC spokesman says the organization will cooperate with the government to resolve the situation.

The Pentagon has refused to comment.

A U.S. TV network (CBS) that broke the news Friday night said the FBI is investigating an aide to two of the Defense Department's highest ranking officials who dealt with sensitive policy issues such as Iran. Government officials said having the information, would make it easier for Israel to influence the U.S. position.

The U.S. administration has taken a tough stand on Iran, especially its nuclear energy program. President Bush has described Iran as a member of the axis of evil and has charged that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons.

Washington is urging the international community to sanction Tehran. But, Iran's leaders insist its nuclear program is for energy and falls within the bounds of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

Israel says a nuclear-capable Iran poses a threat to the region and to the Jewish state. Iran's religious leadership has opposed Arab-Israeli peace efforts and has supported militants fighting against the peace process.

This would not be the first case of espionage for Israel in U.S. government ranks. In 1986 American naval analyst Jonathan Pollard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for passing secret documents to Israel.