A civil suit filed by a former AIPAC lobbyist, who was fired after being accused of passing along classified information to Israel, has devolved into a contest of sexual allegations, according to The Jewish Daily Forward.
In 2005, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee fired Keith Weissman, its Iran analyst, and Steve Rosen, its foreign policy chief, a few months after they were indicted for passing information about Iranian forces to an Israeli diplomat and a Washington Post reporter.
Last year, prosecutors dropped the espionage case against the pair, but Rosen has filed a $20 million defamation suit against his former employer.
According to the Forward, Rosen claims he suffered severe damage to his reputation when an outside public relations adviser issued a statement on AIPAC’s behalf announcing the firing. In a motion for summary judgment, AIPAC says there were a number of other factors that led to Rosen’s firing. Among its claims, AIPAC says Rosen viewed pornography at the lobby’s DC offices. As the Forward reports:
Partial transcripts of the lengthy videotaped deposition of Rosen, which were made public as part of AIPAC’s motion, show Rosen admitted to surfing pornographic websites from work. But AIPAC’s lawyers insisted on more details.
“Q: What type of pornography?
A: Sexual pornography.
Q: What type? Man on man, man on woman?
A: Anything. Anything that occurred to me.”
Rosen also added more details than, perhaps, the attorney for AIPAC had bargained for.
“I witnessed [AIPAC executive director] Howard Kohr viewing pornographic material, [Kohr’s secretary] Annette Franzen viewing pornographic material, probably a dozen other members of the staff,” Rosen said in his deposition.
Rosen also said he had heard from directors at AIPAC about their visits to prostitutes, and he accused Kohr of using “locker room language.” AIPAC lawyers, meanwhile, questioned Rosen about his use of Craiglist to find men to have sex with, which Rosen referred to as “sexual experimentations.”
The documents also reveal that Rosen received a significant amount of money from prominent Jewish philanthropists after he was fired, including $100,000 from Hollywood mogul Haim Saban. AIPAC claims the donations show Rosen did not suffer financial hardship as a result of his firing.
In an interview with the Forward, Rosen seemed undeterred.
“Any embarrassment I suffered as a result of what they filed will be insignificant compared to the embarrassment they’ll suffer after we file our motion,” he said. Rosen’s counter filing is expected on December 2.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com