Shin Bet Withheld Iran Secrets from Lieberman as Security Risk
UPDATE: AP’s Diaa Hadid just published a more detailed story on this subject that is worth reading.
Israel Defense, the publication which covers the Israeli defense industry, reports that when Avigdor Lieberman was Minister for Strategic Affairs, in an earlier iteration of the Netnayahu government, the Shin Bet, which reviews and approves security clearances, refused to approve access to some of the nation’s secret information about Iran. In contrast, the current minister filling that portfolio, Moshe Yaalon, has full access.
If true, this report raises all sorts of questions and red flags. One has to wonder why he would be deprived of such information. The mind immediately turns to Lieberman’s close ties to Russia, where he is on especially good terms with the leadership and makes frequent visits to Moscow. Of course, Russia is one of Iran’s leading trading partners, is building the Bushehr nuclear plant, and provides Iran some of the most advanced anti-aircraft missile technology. Russia would be very interested to know what Israel knows about its affairs in Iran. In fact, much of the information provided on this subject that made it into the IAEA report seems to have derived from Israeli intelligence. This may be one reason why the Shin Bet would worry about allowing Lieberman access.
A senior Israeli source with high-level political and military experience tells me that there have been rumors for years that Lieberman was sent to Israel by the KGB as a young immigrant in order to make his mark and rise upward in Israeli politics. To anyone who argues that such rumors are unsubstantiated, I would remind them that there were unsubstantiated rumors for years about Moshe Katsav’s sexual predatory habits. He’s about to spend seven years in prison. Since the end of Ben Gurion’s reign, the Shin Bet has been prohibited from monitoring Israeli (Jewish politicians), so no one can determine whether the rumor is true.
An anonymous flyer (in Hebrew, a pashkevil or “broadside”) oddly titled, “I Think Therefore I Am,” was posted in Jerusalem last month, which accused Lieberman of being the head of a Russian spy ring inside Israel:
The State of Israel is powerless in the face of Russian spy services, directed by the chair of Yisrael Beitenu, Avigdor Lieberman and his partners in the Party. Some of the Israeli media has offered less than candid or even misleading information on this subject.
We demand the foreign minister be investigated according to the evidence and gravity of his deeds. We announce to the weak ones who stand at the head of this nation, that the people dwelling in Zion will not allow those entrusted with its secrets to leak them to a state [Russia] which enjoys close intelligence relations with Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
When I first received the flyer I didn’t know what to make of it: was it authentic? Did the writer know what he was talking about or was it a smear without foundation? Who would have the motive to do this? And why would they put up a flyer rather than leak it to the Israeli media?
The Israel Defense story is the first indication that Lieberman really is considered a security risk by Israel’s intelligence services. Which means that whoever wrote the flyer knew this. Either the author had connections with intelligence or somehow became aware of the issue through second-hand sources. I still can’t figure out why someone posts a flyer on the street with such information rather than leak it to the media–unless they’d tried and failed to interest a reporter in the story.
A 2009 U.S. embassy cable published by Wikileaks (be sure to click tiny red box with an “x” to remove donation pop up) reports the following:
Israeli FM Lieberman’s June 2-3 visit to Russia appears…to have…cemented Moscow’s impression that the Russian-speaking Lieberman is one of their own.
…[Israeli deputy chief of mission] Fuchs explained that Lieberman conducted his meetings in Russian, shared stories about Moscow, and smoked, creating a comfortable atmosphere with his Russian interlocutors. The Israeli FM “behaved like an old friend” commented Fuchs, who thought that the Russians acted as if they already knew him.
So much “one of their own” that he’d spy on their behalf?
At any rate, we now know that not only is the former Moldovan nightclub bouncer and convicted child-beater corrupt, but he’s also accused of being a Russian mole.
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Afraid I’ve not kept up with Liebermann news but I read that he was under investigation over financial doings, involving shifting money to Belarus. Also that a former diplomat prpmoted by Liebermann had been charged with passing his boss copies of confidential requests for information about his visits to Minsk.
I naievely imagined that an arrest might be imminent, but I have heard no more, and Liebermann is still in his post.
Could it be that the Israeli Foreign Minister is some kind of double agent, whose private financial doings provided a means for Mossad to hide payments to Belarus and Russian officials?
Or if he is really both a “security risk” abd a crook,does he have enough on Netanyahu and other ministers to deter them from pursuing the investigations or even from giving him the sack?
The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly in Israel. Katsav is just now going to prison years after the case was first reported. Olmert still hasn’t gone on trial in the Holyland case. It will take some time before the Lieberman bribery charges are brought to court.
I heard today on Israeli radio that Olmert denies that Lieberman had resricted access, and that L’s lawyers are planning a libel suit against “Israel Defense” for this “false” defamatory report.
Anyone predict a backfire?
I am not a fan of Lieberman and maybe he is a Russian spy but this post certainly doesn’t prove it.
No one in Israel Defense talked about raising questions and red flags. they just mentioned that Lieberman wasn’t allowed to view some of the reports.
The fact that there were rumors against Katsav that turned out to be true doesn’t mean that every other rumor from now on would turn out to be real. the only thing the Wiki-leaks document suggests is that they behaved like friends and the suggestion that they behaved like they already knew him is an opinion. don’t forget that Russian is Lieberman’s mother tongue so it’s only natural that he will use it in a meeting. and since when creating a comfortable atmosphere became something suspicious?
The flyer only means that there are rumors. it doesn’t validate them. and i wouldn’t trust anything written on a pashkevil:
Just to show you the quality of street publication’s of that sort. also Lieberman is known for his support of non religious marriage in Israel and the Russian community supporting him has constant clashes with religious Jews regarding non Kosher stores that they operate. for many religious Jews in Jerusalem Lieberman is like a red cloth.
So maybe he is a Russian spy but much more information than that is needed to establish an accusation that big.
Every Russian that rises to prominence in Israel faces the same accusations. Nathan Scharansky, current head of the Jewish Agency faced the same accusations, and successfully took his accuser, another prominent refusenik, to court on a libel charge. That’s all part of the public record. Now I’m no KGB operative but if I were, I hardly think that I’d handpick a former nightclub bouncer with a violent disposition and a penchant for financial shenanigans to act as my secret double agent in Israel. Lieberman may be many things, an anti-democratic thug, a criminal etc. but a Russian mole? It makes no sense.
i don’t know what to make of the story. One detail is for sure wrong: Lieberman did not serve in Netanyahu’s first government as a minister. He headed the Prime Minister’s office. His position was identical to that of the White House Chief of Stuff. Lieberman served as minister for infrustructure as noted here in Ehud Olmert’s cabinet between 2006-9.
You misunderstood. I didn’t say he served in Bibi’s first term as PM. I said in an earlier iteration of THIS government he served as minister for strategic affairs.
For anybody not born in Israel the Shin Beit will harbor suspicions and that is especially true if the person in question came from the former USSR or an Arab country ( and how old he was when he came to Israel) so, if the Shin Beit refused to approve Liberman’s access to some of the nation’s secret information about Iran that should not cause anybody to raise their eyebrows,it was a simple security precaution on their part.
Liberman is not my cup of tea but then again he does not need to be.He represents those Russian speaking Olim who respect his militant manners.He takes care of his own, as is evident to anybody familiar with the Foreign Ministry and much to the chagrin of the old timers there.
I would venture a guess that the religious right in Israel wish to discredit him as he represents a challenge to them and their authority.
Russian spy or not, he appears to have done great damage to Israel’s reputation. I don’t know anything about the criteria used for clearance decisions, but one would think that unscrupulousness of the degree openly displayed by Lieberman would have been enough to deny him access to state secrets.
You are on to something here, Richard. I consider myself the “World Cup Psychic Octopus” when it comes to all affairs Middle Eastern over the last ten years. As you may have noted, I was one of the only voices repeatedly saying that Israel was bluffing over the past few weeks, for instance.
I strongly believe Israel has been infiltrated. Its hubris and so-called democracy makes it especially vulnerable and prone to espionage. By the same token, Israel has actually been more like a cold war enemy to America than an ally. Jonathon Pollard stole our nuclear secrets for Israel and Israel relayed them to Russia, for instance. Israel has us thoroughly blackmailed: they have our very vital State secrets. Thus, when they attack a ship like the USS Liberty and there is obvious wrongdoing, John McCain’s father was forced to step in under advise of the then President to cover up the affair, “I will not embarrass an ally.” Why not? Because that ally had us by the balls, even then. Just ask the Shah, a supposed Israel-firster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FStTJR0VSbM (again, notice how the psy-ops of renaming the Persian Gulf were present even then). BTW, the Wallaces are shills. Jonathon Pollard’s espionage cost us hundreds of covert operative lives. He’s not only alive and in prison for treason, but Israel (and American Jewish groups) constantly pressure the administration into releasing him. This forced Biden, self-proclaimed Zionist (though I am imagine this is just a means of him protecting himself from the onslaught of anti-Semitic labels that will follow any valid criticism of Israeli misbehavior), to bluntly tell a group of Florida Rabbis, “You’ll have Pollard over my dead f***ing body.” Joe doesn’t know who he’s addressing. Lucky for him, VP can be a relatively powerless position, so I don’t think he is endangered at the moment.
So, back to Israel. I don’t think the Russians have been sitting on their hands all this time. I strongly believe Israel suffers from a case of self-delusion, such that it has rendered itself very vulnerable to espionage. Although it claims to be a democracy, the way Israelis vote and plan policy is dictated by a social pressure to think alike. This thinking comes from an intent to steal land and create a Greater Israel. This intent comes from an ideology that attributes supremacy to Israelis, “the Chosen people”. Thus, power in Israel has a predictable agenda. As an intelligence agency, one would only have to find the right “extremist” nominee to hijack that hubris and to use it against the State of Israel itself by overextending its belligerence. In addition, because of Israel’s tribal way of dictating citizenship, “Israelis” could pop up from anywhere in the world.
I think Israel recognizes this vulnerability or has started to recognize this vulnerability. But I have news for Israel: ten years too late. The Octopus is never wrong 😉
I LOLed so hard that I fell of my chair, you should start writing SiFi/Espionage books, im sure you’ll succeed