WASHINGTON, D.C. – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A Department of Defense analyst has been arrested by the FBI and charged with disclosing classified information related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq to individuals not entitled to receive the information, the Department of Justice announced today.
Lawrence Franklin, 58, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, surrendered to authorities at the FBI’s Washington Field Office in the District of Columbia this morning. A criminal complaint filed Tuesday and unsealed this morning charges Franklin with disclosing classified U.S. national defense information to a person or persons not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(d). The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Franklin is a Defense Department employee who worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, Office of Near East and South Asia, Office of Northern Gulf Affairs, Iran Desk. Franklin held a Top Secret security clearance and access to classified information until that clearance was suspended on June 30, 2004.
The criminal complaint and an accompanying FBI affidavit, filed at U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that on June 26, 2003, Franklin had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia with two individuals. At the lunch, Franklin allegedly disclosed classified information designated Top Secret related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq to the two individuals, neither of whom had the security clearance to receive that information. Franklin allegedly told the two individuals that the information was “highly classified” and asked them not to “use” it.
A search of Franklin’s Pentagon office in June 2004 found the June 2003 classified document containing the information that Franklin allegedly disclosed to the two individuals, according to the complaint. The complaint further alleges that Franklin disclosed, without authorization, classified U.S. government information to a foreign official and members of the news media on other occasions. In addition, according to the FBI affidavit, approximately 83 separate classified U.S. government documents were found during a search of Franklin’s West Virginia home in June 2004. The dates of these documents spanned three decades, and at no time was Franklin’s house an authorized location for the storage of classified U.S. government documents.
The investigation into this matter is continuing. The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office, and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, working with the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice.
Members of the public are reminded that a criminal complaint contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.