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Review Leads to Upheaval in Spy Satellite Programs

By Douglas Jehl
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

A high-level review led by John D. Negroponte, the new intelligence chief, is stirring a major upheaval within the country’s spy satellite programs, beginning with an overhaul of a $15 billion program plagued by delays and cost overruns.

In a terse announcement last week, the National Reconnaissance Office, responsible for developing and launching the devices, said only that a Boeing Co. contract to provide the next generation of reconnaissance satellites, known as the Future Imagery Architecture, was being “restructured.”

But government officials and outside experts said Negroponte had ordered that Boeing stop work on a significant portion of the project, involving satellites with powerful electronic cameras, under a plan to shift the mission to Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s chief competitor.

Under Negroponte’s plan, the remainder of the program, involving satellites that use radar for surveillance, would remain with Boeing. But it is not at all clear whether the proposal goes far enough to answer congressional demands for deep cuts in spending on reconnaissance satellite programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars and whose value is being questioned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Members of Congress are calling for major shifts in intelligence spending, by transferring spending from satellites to human spying efforts. The review by Negroponte, who took over in April as the director of national intelligence, suggests some willingness to call for major changes in multibillion-dollar programs that had escaped critical scrutiny.

Ex-Analyst at Pentagon to Plead Guilty in Secrets Case

By Eric Lichtblau
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

Lawrence A. Franklin, the former Defense Department analyst charged in a far-ranging national security inquiry with passing classified military information to pro-Israel lobbyists, has agreed to a guilty plea, officials said Thursday.

Prosecutors declined to discuss the exact terms of the agreement. It is to be formalized in federal court in Alexandria, Va., next week, when, court officials say, Franklin is scheduled to enter his plea.

But the unexpected development suggests that Franklin has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for possible leniency and may now become the star witness against the two remaining defendants, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. Rosen and Weissman were dismissed last spring, amid the investigation, as senior officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

“When you have one member of an alleged conspiracy pleading guilty, there’s always the distinct possibility that he will become a government witness,” said John N. Nassikas III, a lawyer for Weissman. “But we’re prepared for that.”

Before he emerged publicly last year as the central figure in the national security investigation, Franklin was, for a short time, cooperating secretly with FBI agents in placing phone calls to other figures in the investigation in what amounted to a sting operation.

U.S. Officials Fear Chaos If Iraq Charter Is Not Passed

By Joel Brinkley and Thom Shanker
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

Senior U.S. officials say they are confident that Iraq’s draft constitution will be approved in the referendum to be held Oct. 15, even though Sunni Arabs in Iraq are mobilizing in large numbers to defeat it.

In testimony before Congress on Thursday, the senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. of the Army, said the most recent analysis of intelligence from across the country supported the Bush administration’s optimistic predictions that Iraqi voters will approve the charter. But if the constitution is defeated, several officials said they feared that Iraq would descend into anarchy.

Approval “is critically important,” a senior administration official said, “to maintain political momentum. That is the critical thing for holding this whole thing together.”

Private organizations in Iraq, many working with government financing, say their own analyses, based on discussions with hundreds of Iraqis, polling data and other information, also led many of them to believe that the constitution would be approved.

Their calculations are complicated, because by law the constitution will fail if it is rejected by two-thirds of the voters in any three of Iraq’s 18 provinces, even if a majority of voters nationwide approve it.

Ex-Analyst at Pentagon to Plead Guilty in Secrets Case

By Eric Lichtblau
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

Lawrence A. Franklin, the former Defense Department analyst charged in a far-ranging national security inquiry with passing classified military information to pro-Israel lobbyists, has agreed to a guilty plea, officials said Thursday.

Prosecutors declined to discuss the exact terms of the agreement. It is to be formalized in federal court in Alexandria, Va., next week, when, court officials say, Franklin is scheduled to enter his plea.

But the unexpected development suggests that Franklin has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for possible leniency and may now become the star witness against the two remaining defendants, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. Rosen and Weissman were dismissed last spring, amid the investigation, as senior officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

“When you have one member of an alleged conspiracy pleading guilty, there’s always the distinct possibility that he will become a government witness,” said John N. Nassikas III, a lawyer for Weissman. “But we’re prepared for that.”

Before he emerged publicly last year as the central figure in the national security investigation, Franklin was, for a short time, cooperating secretly with FBI agents in placing phone calls to other figures in the investigation in what amounted to a sting operation.