On Saturday, April 29,
2006 the Washington Post issued a correction to a Walter
Pincus story about the AIPAC espionage case at the insistence of IRmep.
The correction came after IRmep engaged in one month process working through the
newspaper's Ombudsman office. At first Ombudsman Deborah Howell was reluctant to issue a
correction. At stake was a citation in an AIPAC espionage trial story in which reporter
Walter Pincus misquoted the 1917 Espionage Act. The Act is used to prosecute persons
suspected of relaying classified information which can be used to "the injury of the
United States or to the advantage of a foreign country."
After receiving numerous examples from IRmep of how Pincus' mistake was being propagated
into other news
stories trivializing AIPAC lobbyist Weissman and Rosen's alleged criminal activities,
the Washington Post finally gave in and committed to a correction of the story.
IRmep is still concerned that the Washington Post and other newspapers of record are
trying to frame the prosecution of Weissman and Rosen as a looming threat to journalists'
ability to cover national security issues. Other Pincus articles have quoted verbatim
the defense team's assertion that prosecuting two lobbyists for espionage activity is a
threat to freedom of speech.
IRmep believes this is nonsense, but the presiding judge in the case, T.S. Ellis, is still
considering a motion to dismiss the charges on the basis of the freedom of speech
argument. He will rule on the defense team's motion to dismiss on May 23, 2006.
Before that date, IRmep will attempt to file another amicus brief to the court
demonstrating that the Espionage statute functions as a sort of "regulation FD". Fair Disclosure
is the SEC rule that protects small investors by regulating the disclosure of material
information on publicly traded companies to prevent "insider trading".
By allegedly recruiting former Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin (sentenced to 12 years
in prison) to disclose classified information in return for a potential job on the
National Security Council, Weissman and Rosen were in no way exercising "freedom of
speech", but rather corrupting US Middle East policy formulation to the detriment of
IRmep considers the Rosen and Weissman
criminal trial to be a potential turning point in overhauling a broken US policy
formulation process. A successful prosecution could mean the permanent removal of one of
the most damaging unregistered foreign agents ever activated in the United States: the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Removing AIPAC will level the playing field and outlaw trading inside information for
unwarranted influence. After AIPAC a broader array of important policy voices will
be heard in Washington.