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Old 08-27-2004, 09:22 PM   #2
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FBI investigating possible spy for Israel
Official: High-level Pentagon worker could have shaped policy



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI has evidence that a person who has been working at high levels in the Pentagon may be a spy for Israel, a senior official confirmed to CNN on Friday.

The suspect could have been in a position to influence Bush administration policy toward Iran and Iraq, the senior official said.

However, another government official said the suspect is "not in a level to influence policy."

"He is an analyst in an undersecretary's office," this official said.

A senior Pentagon official confirmed to CNN that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "had been made generally aware that the Justice Department had an investigation going on."

CBS News, which first reported the story, said the FBI had developed evidence against the suspect, including photographs and conversations recorded through wiretaps.

The network said the suspect has ties to two senior Pentagon officials: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

Multiple sources have told CNN that the investigation is well along, and one government official described the evidence against the suspect as a "slam dunk case."

The government official said "there has been no decision to prosecute the individual."

Another government source with knowledge of the case told CNN that the FBI is investigating possible spying at the Pentagon involving Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.

AIPAC released a statement late Friday calling news reports that two of its staff members may have passed internal White House policy deliberations on Iran to Israel "false and baseless."

The statement said AIPAC "is cooperating fully" with government authorities, including providing documents and information, and making staff members available for interviews.

"Neither AIPAC nor any of its employees has violated any laws or rules, nor has AIPAC or its employees ever received information they believed was secret or classified," the statement said. "AIPAC is an American organization comprised of proud and loyal U.S. citizens committed to promoting American interests. We do not condone or tolerate any violation of any U.S. law or interests."

Washington insiders note that it is not unusual for friendly governments to have access to certain classified information, so even if the allegations are correct, not everyone involved may have thought they were involved in espionage. Still, one U.S. source is calling the case "a very serious matter."

An Israeli Embassy spokesman told CNN that "we categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous."

An Israeli official in Washington said the U.S. government has not contacted the Israelis about any such investigation.

The Justice Department, speaking for the FBI, refused to comment, saying only, "We cannot confirm or deny the report."

An FBI spokesman said the bureau has no comment on the CBS report.

CNN's David Ensor, Barbara Starr, Kelli Arena and Terry Frieden contributed to this report
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