Report: 2 AIPAC Officials Take Paid Leave Over Spy Probe

Two senior officials at the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who have been under investigation for allegedly passing classified information from the Pentagon to Israeli officials, have gone on paid leave, according to a report in the latest edition of the Jewish weekly, the Forward.

The two officials are Steve Rosen, who heads AIPAC's research department, and Keith Weissman, the lobby's deputy director of foreign policy issues.

Rosen and Weissman have been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on numerous occasions for allegedly receiving classified information from Larry Franklin, an information analyst at the Defense Department's Iran desk.

An AIPAC spokesman, Andrew Schwartz, refused to confirm the Forward report, saying "we do not comment on matters related to AIPAC personnel."

Yet officials at major Jewish organizations confirmed that Weissman and Rosen were indeed asked to take a paid vacation.

At this point it remains unclear what moved the organization to send the officials on paid leave. The investigation of the AIPAC-Franklin matter has been going on since August 2004. Four senior AIPAC officials testified before a grand jury and federal agents raided the group's offices, confiscating documents and computer files.

Speculation is rife that Rosen and Weissman were asked to take leave due to recent developments in the investigation, namely that the federal prosecutor and the grand jury will soon decide whether or not to indict the two.

The FBI and other officials connected to the case have refused to divulge any information relating to the progress of the investigation.