Department of Justice Accepted AIPAC Parent's Demand for Secrecy

Declassified Papers

Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:39am EDT

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Papers kept secret for 43 years
show that the US Department of Justice attempted to register the parent
organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as the
foreign agent of Israel.

Such a registration could have changed the course of Middle East history by
giving the president, State Department and American public more insight and
leverage over the Israel lobby during peace negotiations to compensate
displaced Palestinians and avert Israel's covert development of nuclear

The 1962 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) order was approved by Attorney
General Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) and senior officials. The DOJ found the
American Zionist Council had received the equivalent of $35 million in
directed Israeli funds to lobby and conduct public relations in the United
States for arms, aid and preferential diplomatic treatment.

Declassified documents newly available from the Israel Lobby Archive at reveal that the DOJ's efforts to register the AZC
and publicly disclose its activities almost reached the level of FBI raids and
grand juries. But in the years following John F. Kennedy's assassination and
RFK's subsequent departure from the DOJ, the AZC asked permission to limit
normal public release of AZC FARA filings. After the DOJ granted requests for
a secret filing, the AZC shut down and shifted operations over to AIPAC.

According to research director Grant F. Smith, the declassified archive
provides timely insights into the mechanics of thwarting rule of law. "It's
unimaginable that AIPAC executives would now be under indictment for alleged
violations of the Espionage Act if AIPAC and its forebears had properly
registered under FARA. US courts return to this overarching question on
October 29, 2008. Curiously, the AIPAC defendants now argue that such secrecy
is no longer in their interest. They insist the US government must now release
sensitive national security information about Iran in order to prepare their
case that the Espionage Act, like FARA, can not be applied to the Israel

The Israel Lobby Archive,, is a unit of the Institute for
Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington. The Archive digitizes
declassified documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act filings
with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Archive facilitates
permanent direct citizen access to critical records that briefly enter the
public domain but vanish for lack of warranted mainstream media coverage.

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