WASHINGTON (CN) – A Jewish FBI agent says he was falsely accused of “an unspecified foreign preference'” for Israel. In suing over his termination, the John Doe plaintiff says he believes the accusation came because he faxed unclassified documents to “colleagues at AIPAC,” the politically powerful American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. He accuses the FBI and the Justice Department of allowing “ill-informed biases regarding the country of Israel and the loyalty of Jewish Americans to improperly and illegally color their personnel decisions.”
The former FBI intelligence specialist says he was wrongfully tied to the 2004 scandal in which two AIPAC employees and Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin were indicted on espionage charges.
Franklin pleaded guilty to passing confidential information to AIPAC regarding US foreign policy on Iran and was sentenced to prison in 2006, but his sentence was reduced to house arrest. The case against the AIPAC employees was dismissed, according to contemporary media reports.
In his complaint, Doe says he worked for the State Department as an analyst “assigned to primarily cover issues relating to Palestinian terrorism and the Jewish extremist account within the Bureau of Intelligence and Research” before joining the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in 2004.
He says the FBI began investigating him in regard to AIPAC in October 2005, then revoked his security clearance and placed him on administrative leave without pay. He says he was never told of what charges, if any, were filed against him, only that he was “under investigation for espionage.”
Doe says he was subjected to a 15-hour interrogation and two polygraph exams. The results were never revealed to him.
In June 2008, nearly three years after learning of the investigation, Doe says the FBI handed him his walking papers after refusing to let him appeal the revocation of his security clearance.
Doe says the Bureau gave him a letter citing an executive order that bars an appeal “if the Deputy Attorney General or Attorney General personally certifies that damage to the national security interests of the United States would result from those procedures by revealing classified information.”
That was the only reason he ever received for his firing, he says. But he believes that during the 2004 FBI search of AIPAC offices, agents “retrieved unclassified FBIS [Foreign Broadcast Information Service] articles that [he] had faxed to colleagues at AIPAC, as well as at least one other unclassified document he had provided while an employee of the State Department.” But he says, “These documents were directly related to matters on which John Doe worked as an Intelligence Research Specialist and his contacts with AIPAC officials were neither inappropriate nor outside the scope of his employment with the federal government.”
He says his Jewish faith played a role in the investigation.
“In or around April 2006, John Doe filed a complaint with the DOJ Office of Inspector General and complained about the length of the investigation, the fact that he was being denied any procedural information or rights, and to allege that he was being targeted based on his Jewish religion,” the lawsuit states.
Doe claims the FBI and the Justice Department violated his rights to due process and freedom of association, and also violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the Privacy Act.
He wants his security clearance reinstated and his job back. He also wants at least $201,000 in damages.
He is represented by Mark Zaid.