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AIPAC Offices Searched in Spy Probe

FBI (search) agents searched files and served subpoenas Wednesday at the offices of the major pro-Israel lobbying organization as part of an investigation into whether Israel improperly obtained classified U.S. information on Iran.

The search at the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (search) was disclosed in a statement by the organization, which repeated it is cooperating "in order to get these false and baseless allegations put to rest fully and swiftly."

"As we have said from the beginning, AIPAC has done nothing wrong," the statement said.

The FBI previously searched AIPAC's offices on Aug. 27.

Agents also have interviewed two AIPAC employees about whether a Defense Department analyst, Larry Franklin (search), gave them classified information that wound up with Israel. Franklin works on Iran and Middle East issues in the office of policy undersecretary Douglas Feith. Franklin has not commented on the probe and has not been charged.

AIPAC said FBI agents on Wednesday requested and received files related to those same two employees, who previously were identified — Steve Rosen, the director of research, and Keith Weissman, deputy director of foreign policy issues.

The FBI has copied computer hard drives and files from both men.

In addition, the AIPAC statement said subpoenas were served by the FBI requiring four senior AIPAC officials to testify before the federal grand jury investigating the case. A source familiar with the inquiry identified the four as AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr, managing director Richard Fishman, communications director Renee Rothstein and research director Rafi Danziger.

The FBI and Justice Department declined comment.

The Israeli government has denied spying on the United States, saying that meetings between U.S. and Israeli officials are common and that the two countries share many secrets. Iran, particularly any assessments of its nuclear ambitions, is of critical importance to Israel's security interests.

Israel said it has imposed a ban on espionage in the United States since the scandal over Jonathan Pollard, an American caught spying for Israel in 1985.

The AIPAC investigation, which dates to the early 2001 days of the Bush administration, is being handled by U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty of Alexandria, Va. No charges have been brought.