(Corrects amount of fine in second paragraph.)
By Jeff St.Onge
Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A former U.S. Defense Department analyst was sentenced to about 12 1/2 years in prison for passing classified documents to an Israeli diplomat and two men who worked for a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Lawrence A. Franklin, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk until June 30, 2004, was also fined $10,000 today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He pleaded guilty in October and, pending completion of his cooperation in the government's investigation, prosecutors said today they may ask for a reduction in his prison term.
``That's what we're hoping for,'' John Hundley, Franklin's lawyer, told reporters after the court hearing.
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis scolded Franklin for trying to influence U.S. policy by passing along defense secrets to those who weren't authorized to see them.
``There is no excuse for your thinking you could get to the National Security Council circuitously,'' Ellis said. ``Once the information gets into unauthorized hands, who knows where it goes? Who knows where it travels?''
A former colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Franklin admitted handing over classified information to two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. The men, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged in August with conspiring to pass on information received from Franklin to a foreign government.
Franklin also pleaded guilty to disclosing information on weapons tests to a senior policy official at the Israeli embassy in Washington, though he said the information he obtained from the diplomat was far more valuable than what he disclosed.
AIPAC fired policy director Rosen and senior Iran analyst Weissman in April.
Prosecutors said Franklin met repeatedly with Rosen and Weissman in restaurants around Washington between 2002 and 2004 to discuss policy and exchange information, including documents about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.
In return for his cooperation, he asked that he be allowed to serve his sentence at a minimum security prison near his home and that his wife receive the equivalent of a survivor's annuity.
The case is U.S. v. Franklin, 05cr225, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff St.Onge in Washington at email@example.com.Last Updated: January 20, 2006 12:53 EST