Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Israel: Activists Demand Justice Department Regulate AIPAC as Israeli Foreign Agent

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2011 -- On May 23 activists drawn from more than 100 organizations demanded the U.S. Department of Justice regulate the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as an agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On May 18, 2011 Heather Hunt, chief of the Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Division, responded to a letter "requesting a meeting with the Attorney General to discuss matters relating to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and its possible obligation to register pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938…" Hunt solicited "additional information" asking that concerned members of the public, "please forward it to us."

The new information was presented in front of the Justice Department on a large presentation board. According to 2010 civil court filings AIPAC obtained classified annual U.S. arms transfer data, secret U.S. policy accords with Saudi Arabia, classified signals intelligence flows that were used in lobbying Congress, National Security Decision Directives, Justice Department investigation files and troves of other government classified information. Petitioners argue that AIPAC is trafficking classified U.S. government secrets for the same reason its parent organization laundered overseas funds into the U.S. during the 1960s—to serve the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs—where AIPAC's founder worked until 1951.

A 2009 petition filed with Hunt substantiated that the Justice Department ordered the American Zionist Council to register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962 after it was discovered laundering millions of dollars of Israeli funds into U.S. public relations and lobbying campaigns. The AZC's lobbying and PR division—AIPAC—quietly incorporated six weeks later without registering. In 1965 the Justice Department—in violation of FARA transparency mandates—agreed to keep the AZC foreign agent order secret. This allowed AIPAC to obtain tax exempt status in 1968 —against recommendations of a 1963 Senate Foreign Relations Committee letter to the IRS following a separate three year investigation.