WASHINGTON (CNN) — The FBI has evidence that a person who has been working at high levels in the Pentagon may be a spy for Israel, a senior official confirmed to CNN on Friday.
The suspect could have been in a position to influence Bush administration policy toward Iran and Iraq, the senior official said.
A senior Pentagon official confirmed to CNN that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “had been made generally aware that the Justice Department had an investigation going on.”
CBS News, which first reported the story, said the FBI had developed evidence against the suspect, including photographs and conversations recorded through wiretaps.
The network said the suspect has ties to two senior Pentagon officials: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.
Multiple sources have told CNN that the investigation is well along, and one government official described the evidence against the suspect as a “slam dunk case.”
However, that official said the suspect is “not in a level to influence policy. He is an analyst in an undersecretary’s office.”
The government official said “there has been no decision to prosecute the individual.”
Another government source with knowledge of the case told CNN that the FBI is investigating possible spying at the Pentagon involving Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.
However, Washington insiders note that it is not unusual for friendly governments to have access to certain classified information, so even if the allegations are correct, not everyone involved may have thought they were involved in espionage. Still, one U.S. source is calling the case “a very serious matter.”
An Israeli Embassy spokesman told CNN that “we categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous.”
An Israeli official in Washington said the U.S. government has not contacted the Israelis about any such investigation.
AIPAC released a statement saying that “any allegation of criminal conduct by the organization or its employees is baseless and false.”
“We take our responsibilities as American citizens seriously. We would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of U.S. law or interests. We are fully cooperating with the governmental authorities and will continue to do so,” the AIPAC statement said.
The Justice Department, speaking for the FBI, refused to comment, saying only, “We cannot confirm or deny the report.”
An FBI spokesman said the bureau has no comment on the CBS report.