Espionage in the Twenty-First Century

Espionage remains “a very real threat to U.S. national security,” a House Judiciary Committee panel was told this week.

“Since the end of the Cold War, there have been 78 individuals arrested for espionage or espionage-related crimes and since the 21st century began, there have been 37 individuals arrested in the US as agents of foreign powers,” according to David G. Major, a former senior FBI official who is now President of the private Counterintelligence Centre.

In his January 29 testimony (pdf), Mr. Major presented a convenient tabulation of “Agents of Foreign Powers Arrested in the United States in the 21st Century.”

But his list erroneously includes Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who are charged with unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information.

They are not accused of espionage, nor does the U.S. Government argue that they are agents of a foreign power. To the contrary, prosecutors acknowledged in a January 30, 2006 court filing (pdf) that it is a “fact that the defendants were not agents of Israel, or any foreign nation.”

Recent espionage cases were also reviewed at the House Committee hearing by J. Patrick Rowan of the Department of Justice and Larry M. Wortzel of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

No Responses to “Espionage in the Twenty-First Century”

  1. Grant F. Smith January 30, 2008 at 5:54 PM #

    David G. Major got it right. The alleged activities of Rosen and Weissman as stated in the superceding indictment, court docket filings and credible press accounts are clearly “espionage-related crimes”.

    1. Documents were allegedly passed to Israeli officials, who initially fled the country.
    2. The alleged targeted effort was to affect US policy toward Iran, to Israel’s benefit.

    The FAS needs to stop treating this as some sort of “freedom of speech” issue, and begin to accept the very inconvenient and painful truths surrounding the case.

    The open minded can review the book “Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal”.

  2. APS February 8, 2008 at 1:47 PM #

    Good catch. The Administration, (or at least some rogue spooks at the FBI), are clearly intent on denying American citizens their First Amendment Right to Petition the Goverment through NGOs (like Aipac). In addition, they’d obviously like to widen that net to include private citizens who might disseminate such information outside of government circles. I think its high time we ask ourselves, who’s next? Whistle blowers, Journalists, other US citizens who are interested in what’s going on in their own government.

    The fact is the Aipac defendants were simply American citizens petitioning their government to consider certain foreign policy positions. Their real “crime” is that these positions upset certain mid-level government bureacrats within the intelligence establishment and State Department; and of course they were anathema to the Arab Gulf States who often employ such bureaucrats after their term of service is over.