Clinton met with Israeli spy barred from entering US
March 9, 2009 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Much was made last week of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Israel, during which she met several of the key players in Israel’s new rightwing government. Among those was Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of Israel’s conservative Likud Party and the country’s new Prime Minister-Designate. Remarkably, however, when Clinton and her aides walked into Mr. Netanyahu’s office on March 4, they found there several of his advisors, including Uzi Arad, a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Mossad who is currently barred from entering the US for his involvement as a co-conspirator in the Lawrence Franklin spy case. Lawrence Anthony Franklin was a US Defense Department analyst, who in 2006 was given a 12-year prison sentence for handing classified US military information to Uzi Arad, Naor Gilon, an Israeli Embassy official in Washington, as well as to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, both lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Despite his role in that diplomatic faux pas, Arad has continued his close relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to task him with heading Israel’s National Security Council. As soon as Secretary Clinton and her advisers realized Arad was standing next to Netanyahu in the meeting room, they tried to discreetly avoid diplomatic complications by requesting that “only three participants from each side stay in the meeting”. It was an indirect way of requesting that Mr. Arar leave the room. But the US delegation was stunned when Israel’s Prime Minister-Designate kept the former Mosad agent present, choosing instead to kick out Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor. Clinton’s delegation did not say a word about Netanyahu’s diplomatic slap-in-the-face, hoping the incident would not make headlines. Ambassador Meridor was not so sensitive about the affair. He was so put off that he announced his resignation soon afterwards.