WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and some of President Bush's top foreign policy advisers must testify about their conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists, a federal judge ruled yesterday in a trial over the misuse of classified information.
Two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists accused of passing classified information to an Israeli official and the press.
They argue, however, that the US regularly uses the pro-Israel group to send back-channel communications to others.
They say that Rice will be able to verify that unofficial but sanctioned role.
Lobbyists Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman subpoenaed Rice; the national security adviser, Stephen Hadley; the deputy national security adviser, Elliott Abrams; and a dozen others to testify.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully challenged the subpoenas.
If the officials ultimately testify, the trial in federal court in suburban Alexandria, Va., could offer a behind-the-scenes look at the way US foreign policy is crafted.