http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/washington/03aipac.html?ref=world NY Times March 3, 2008 WASHINGTON â From its headquarters near the Capitol, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, has for decades played an important though informal role in the formation of the United States governmentâs Middle East policy. As part of Aipacâs mission to lobby the government on behalf of Israel, its officials assiduously maintain contact with senior policymakers, lawmakers, diplomats and journalists. Those conversations are typical of the unseen world of information trading in Washington, where people customarily and insistently ask each other, âSo, what are you hearing?â But a trial scheduled for late April in federal court in Alexandria, Va., threatens to expose and upend that system. Moreover, the case comes with issues of enormous sensitivity and emotion, notably the nature and extent of the ways American Jewish supporters of Israel try to influence the United States government. Unless the government suddenly backs down, the courtroom will become the stage for an extraordinary parade of top officials being forced to testify about some of the unseen ways American foreign policy is made.