Lawrence Anthony Franklin is a former U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel who has pleaded guilty to passing information about U.S. policy towards Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the U.S, while he was working for the Defense Department. He claims this was an attempt to get the information to the United States National Security Council, which he was not able to do through regular Pentagon channels. Two former employees of AIPAC (Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman) also faced charges (that would later be dropped) that they assisted him in the AIPAC espionage scandal and passing classified national defense information to an Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon. On January 20, 2006, Judge T.S. Ellis, III sentenced Franklin to 151 months (almost 13 years) in prison and fined him $10,000 which Ellis later reduced to probation with ten months house arrest. The case was heard in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Ultimately, Franklin was charged with unauthorized disclosure of classified information, not with espionage.
In 2002 and 2003, Franklin worked at the Office of Special Plans which was set up by Donald Rumsfeld. The office was led by Douglas Feith. Under Feith's authorization, Lawrence Franklin met with Iran-Contra figures; critics allege they discussed Iraq intelligence, while supporters say they discussed only the War on Terrorism.