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04 May 2005

FBI Arrests Defense Analyst for Passing Secret Information

Analyst could face 10 years in prison

Washington -- The FBI has arrested a Defense Department analyst and charged him with passing classified information about possible attacks against U.S. military forces in Iraq to two men not entitled to that information, the Justice Department says.

"Lawrence Franklin, 58, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, surrendered to authorities at the FBI's Washington Field Office in the District of Columbia this morning," a May 4 department announcement said.  "A criminal complaint filed Tuesday [May 3] and unsealed this morning charges Franklin with disclosing classified U.S. national defense information to a person or persons not entitled to receive it.  The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison."

Franklin, who specialized in Iran and Middle Eastern affairs, held a Top Secret security clearance and access to classified information until that clearance was suspended on June 30, 2004, the Justice Department said.

The criminal complaint and an accompanying FBI affidavit, filed in federal court, alleges that on June 26, 2003, Franklin had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, with two individuals, the Justice Department said.  At the lunch, Franklin allegedly disclosed classified information designated Top Secret [and] related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq to the individuals, neither of whom had the security clearance to receive that information.  Franklin allegedly told the two individuals that the information was "highly classified" and asked them not to "use" it, the Justice Department said.

A search of Franklin's Pentagon office in June 2004 found the June 2003 classified document containing the information that he allegedly disclosed to the two individuals, according to the complaint.

The announcement said the complaint further alleges that Franklin disclosed, without authorization, classified U.S. government information to a foreign official and members of the news media on other occasions.  In addition, according to the FBI affidavit, approximately 83 separate classified U.S. government documents were found during a search of Franklin's West Virginia home in June 2004, the announcement said.

The investigation is continuing, the Justice Department said.