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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Israel denies 'spying against US'
Larry Franklin
Franklin is co-operating with the prosecution
A senior Israeli official has denied operating a former Pentagon analyst who admitted passing classified information to pro-Israel lobbyists in the US.

"Israel is not spying in or against the United States," said Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Larry Franklin has pleaded guilty to giving secrets to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Mr Franklin said he had been unhappy with aspects of US foreign policy.

"The conviction doesn't accuse Israel of activating Franklin or tempting him," said Mr Steinitz.

Mr Steinitz added that he had just returned from "very friendly" talks with US Defense Department officials where the matter had not been raised.

Conspiracy

According to the charges against Franklin, he passed information to Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) from 2002 to 2004.

The 58-year-old said he had hoped the lobbyists would use their contacts to get policies he was unhappy with changed.

Franklin said he had also given information to an Israeli diplomat, but played down its importance.

Franklin also said he had met the political officer from the Israeli embassy at least nine times during the same period.

But he said he believed the Israeli government was already in possession of the information.

He did not specify what US policy he was particularly frustrated with.

The two Aipac officials have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to communicate the information given to them by Franklin.

Aipac has fired the two men and denied any wrongdoing.



SEE ALSO:
Israel lobby in US 'fires staff'
21 Apr 05 |  Middle East
Israel denies US spy allegation
28 Aug 04 |  Americas


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