Rice asked to testify in Israel spy case

April 22, 2006 at 10:22 AM
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 22 (UPI) -- Top Bush administration officials, including Condoleezza Rice, reportedly will be asked to testify in the Virginia espionage case of former Israeli lobbyists.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis allowed the defense of former staff members of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to subpoena Secretary of State Rice, along with former Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni, former assistant Secretary of State for Near East William Burns and Burns' former deputy David Satterfield, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Burns is now ambassador to Moscow and Satterfield the deputy chief of mission in Baghdad.

Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are accused of passing on U.S. defense secrets to Israel.

Former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin pleaded guilty to giving the information to the two and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But Rosen and Weissman said the information was the same that was passed to them from Rice and the other four, and not an anomaly.

Ellis' granting of the defenses request means they can officially enter subpoenas but doesn't guarantee they will agree to testify.

The pair's trial was supposed to start late next month but was postponed again after lengthy procedural tactics.

Ellis is also considering arguments made by both sides on the defense request to have the charges dismissed.

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