Jeff Stein, writing about intelligence matters at the Washington Post, notes a recent poll of CIA personnel ranking U.S. allies from best to worst in terms of the nature of their coöperation and relationship with our spy agency. Here’s the result:
“Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.
Not only that, he added, throwing up his hands and rising from his chair, “the Israelis are number three, with China number one and Russia number two,” in terms of how aggressive they are in their operations on U.S. soil.
But not only are they the snoopiest, most intrusive and among the most duplicitous in their operations here, now they’re attempting to recruit American Muslims as intelligence assets. Hard to believe they could have that much chutzpah to operate here in this fashion. But nothing surprises me on this score.
Stein quotes an article by Phil Giraldi, himself a retired former CIA officer on these efforts:
One of Israel’s major interests, of course, is keeping track of Muslims who might be allied with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, or Iran-backed Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.
As tensions with Iran escalate, according to former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, “Israeli agents have become more aggressive in targeting Muslims living in the United States as well as in operating against critics.”
“There have been a number of cases reported to the FBI about Mossad officers who have approached leaders in Arab-American communities and have falsely represented themselves as ‘U.S. intelligence,’ ” Giraldi wrote recently in American Conservative magazine.
“Because few Muslims would assist an Israeli, this is done to increase the likelihood that the target will cooperate. It’s referred to as a ‘false flag’ operation.”
Giraldi’s piece continued, “Mossad officers sought to recruit Arab-Americans as sources willing to inform on their associates and neighbors. The approaches, which took place in New York and New Jersey, were reportedly handled clumsily, making the targets of the operation suspicious.”
“These Arab-Americans turned down the requests for cooperation,” Giraldi added,”and some of the contacts were eventually reported to the FBI, which has determined that at least two of the Mossad officers are, ironically, Israeli Arabs operating out of Israel’s mission to the United Nations in New York under cover as consular assistants.”
“Oh, sure, they do that,” the other former CIA official said, waving a dismissing hand, when I asked about Giraldi’s story. “They’re all over the place.”
One of a number of extraordinary things about this activity is that the Mossad has recruited Israeli Palestinians to become agents. I have to wonder what would motivate such a person to enlist in Israeli intelligence especially given the history of relations between Israel and its Palestinian citizens.
Stein also quotes an FBI counterintelligence officer on the subject of Israel’s penetration of the U.S.:
…A retired senior FBI counterintelligence official told SpyTalk, “They have always been extremely aggressive, and seem to feel they can operate whenever and wherever they want, in spite of being called on the carpet more than any other country by probably a factor of three times as often.”
Those of you who have been reading this blog for the past year or so will note that I have covered a number of stories involving Israeli activities in the U.S. which seek to influence domestic opinion in favor of war with Iran. In the business, it’s called a perception management campaign to exploit media, political leaders and other influential figures to favor aggressive action against Iran. The influence is exerted in ways overt and covert, transparent and oblique, straightforward and duplicitous.
As part of this operation, members of Congress were rated for the unfriendliness to Israeli interests, those deemed hostile were scrutinized closely by local Jewish community leaders who reported on the member’s activities that might be of interest to the embassy. Articles planted in local newspapers hostile to Iran were written by embassy personnel but fronted by local Jewish community leaders. Locally, the Israeli consulate utilized the cover of the local Aipac chapter and Jewish federation to organize an anti-Iran dog and pony show that featured a Jerusalem Post reporter, an Aipac flack and the Israeli consul general warning the Jewish community of the existential danger posed by Iran to Israel and the world.
An Israeli-American like Max Singer, living in Israel and a citizen of that country, publishes advocacy through the Hudson Institute which explicitly seeks to undermine a sitting U.S. president. Retired IDF generals openly and publicly wish for the defeat of the Democrats in the November elections. There is seemingly no red line Israel isn’t willing to cross in boosting its perceived interests. What’s more nefarious though is the argument that the policies advocated (belligerency towards Iran, for example) are good for the U.S., when in reality the policies are advocated because they are good for Israel (at least in the eyes of these war hawks).
And this is the more or less above-board activities in which they’ve engaged–not the deep cover activities of which I have no direct knowledge. So you imagine to yourself what that might entail.
You’ll also remember that the Mossad exploited Israeli-owned U.S. finance companies with close ties to the Israeli military intelligence community to finance the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabouh. I’ve been waiting for months for the other shoe to drop on this one. But it appears, at least so far, that the FBI isn’t prepared to make a stir over this though it should. I suppose Obama thinks he has bigger fish to fry in bringing home an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Of course, the danger is he may not get the agreement AND he may never uncover the abuse of the U.S. financial system to fund Israeli terror (something we claim to be in favor of exposing when it involves Arab terror).
We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that for Israel, the U.S. is the mother lode. We are the world’s superpower. We hold Israel’s fate in the balance, or at least we could if it were attacked. From the Mossad’s point of view, they MUST have a robust presence here. The problem is how they manifest that presence. By importing to this country the traditions of opacity, duplicity and surreptitiousness for which Israeli intelligence is known in Israel, they risk degrading our own standards and values, especially if our own Justice Department and president allow them to behave with impunity.