Today's Blogs

American Israeli spies?

Bloggers discuss an espionage scandal involving a pro-Israeli lobbying group; they also discuss Bob Woodward’s relationship with Mark Felt and react to a report that male fiction readers rarely read female authors.

American Israeli spies?: According to Haaretz, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin helped the FBI out with a sting operation last year in which he told Keith Weissman, a top lobbyist at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that “Iranian agents were trying to capture Israeli civilians working in the Kurdish area in northern Iraq,” and that the information was classified. Weissman and Steve Rosen, another AIPAC official, immediately notified the Israeli Embassy. The two are expected to be indicted under the Espionage Act. Franklin, who may have stopped cooperating with the government, is expected to be indicted in a separate case for allegedly turning over classified information.

Many bloggers are linking to this piece by the American Conservative’s Justin Raimondo, who calls this “one of the biggest, most far-reaching espionage investigations since the Cold War,” and insists that “the case involves not only the theft of vital U.S. secrets but a concerted effort to influence American foreign policy on behalf of a foreign power.” Criticizing the U.S. media for ignoring this story, Sabbah’s Blog’s Haitham Sabbah, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, fulminates, “It is of note that AIPAC is paying to defend these two and denies any wrong doing.” Journalist/filmmaker Sharon Cobb fervidly defends AIPAC, pulls apart this Dana Milbank piece in the Washington Post about the recent AIPAC convention, and describes her meeting with Steve Rosen in 2001: “I found him to be forthcoming and open. To tell you the truth, we didn’t discuss espionage.”

The Nation’s David Corn writes, “I have no sympathy for these birds, but the FBI deliberately put them into a tough position, essentially plying them with false but alarming information regarding a life-and-death situation. … Yeah, Rosen and Weissman should have done nothing. But the feds dished up temptation that was hard to resist. They must have wanted these guys bad. I’m wondering why, and I’m wondering how a jury is going to see this.”

Read more about the AIPAC espionage scandal.

AlkaFeltzer: Bob Woodward has published a detailed account in the Washington Post of his relationship with Mark Felt, the former FBI official who has admitted to being Deep Throat.

Many bloggers are heaping praise on Woodward. “[Y]ou have to hand it to Woodward and Bernstein. They have kept this secret, up to and including the gigantic scoop that they handed to Vanity Fair, because they gave the man their word,” notesMark in Mexico, who also notices he twice voted for Nixon. The Moderate Voice’s Joe Gandelman, a journalist who admires Woodward’s “smart networking,” points out, “[N]othing in Woodward’s account confirms the abuse being heaped on Felt by talk show hosts and former Nixon cronies who are now grasping at everything they can to try and claim he was just a disgruntled employee: in fact, this account confirms that the man was extremely concerned over the course his government was taking and the ability to do something about it from within the government.”

But conservative Irish Pennants’ Jack believes that the Watergate story is far from over. “It’s apparent Woodward isn’t telling all he knows, and that his scoop was based less on his skills as an investigative reporter than on his prior contacts as a naval intelligence officer, one who may have been involved in a plot to spy on the president.”

Read more about Woodward on Felt.

The glass bookshelf: A recent survey of British intellectuals found that male fiction readers rarely read female authors. Christian romance novelist Brenda Coulter opines that men just happen to like plot-driven books about crime and intrigue, which are most likely to be written by men. She writes, “Maybe everyone should calm down a little about this this study (which would have been a little hard for me to take seriously in any case, as it collected responses from a mere 50 individuals, including both sexes).” Short Term Memory Loss’s James admits that he rarely reads books by women and complains, “I think that books by women are, all too often, consciously marketed at women. … Kamila Shamsie is a fantastic writer, but look at the cover of new book, Broken Verses—pretty roses! Swirly writing! Am I shallow?” Pickle Me This’s Kerry Clare is angered, but asks, “[W]hy then are women able to read book by writers of either gender? Perhaps, is masculinity a more universal, less specialised condition, that even women can relate to to some extent?”

Read more about male fiction readers.

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