Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "AIPAC hires lawyers
By JANINE ZACHARIA

NEW YORK
The FBI has not contacted AIPAC employees or their lawyers to resume interviews since an initial visit to the pro-Israel lobby's office on Friday, when two staffers were questioned as part of an investigation into whether a Pentagon official passed a secret document on Iran policy to the group, sources familiar with the investigation said Wednesday.

The FBI began questioning the two staffers, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, and made a copy of Rosen's computer hard drive on Friday, sources said. The two then said they wanted to consult with attorneys before proceeding, but have made clear they are ready to continue to cooperate with authorities.

The lobby has hired Nathan Lewin, an experienced Washington attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal defense work and constitutional law. Throughout his career he has represented prominent officials, including former attorney general Edwin Meese.

Rosen and Weissman are being represented by Abbe Lowell, one of Washington's most prominent attorneys, who is known as an aggressive, criminal defense attorney. Lowell was the Democrats' chief investigative counsel in the impeachment hearings of president Bill Clinton.

It was not clear why FBI investigators have not resumed questioning of the AIPAC staffers – whether it was a sign that the FBI had all that it needed, or that the investigation had stalled. An FBI spokesman, Bill Carter, had no comment, except to say, "It's an ongoing investigation."

The federal prosecutor handling the case, Paul McNulty, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has a "very good reputation" as a "hard-core, very aggressive prosecutor," one formal federal prosecutor said."

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