US Senate hearing accidentally reveals Mossad director’s secret visit
February 1, 2012 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The chairwoman of a public hearing at the United States Senate, which was televised live across America, accidentally revealed that the Director of Israeli intelligence service Mossad secretly visited the US for talks last week. The revelation took place on Tuesday at a high-profile hearing conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with the participation of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus. While addressing the latter, Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein mentioned in passing that “the vice chairman [of the Committee] and I have just met this past week with the director of Mossad”, and that the meeting was classified. She was referring to Tamir Pardo, the newly installed head of Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency. Without blinking an eye, Petraeus responded saying: “Like you, obviously, I met with the head of Mossad when he was here”. Subsequent discussion during the hearing appeared to establish that Pardo visited the United States specifically to discuss the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran’s known nuclear installations. In responding to Senator Feinstein’s comment, the CIA Director said that Pardo’s secret visit was “part of an ongoing dialogue that has also included conversations that I’ve had with [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and with [Defense] Minister [Ehud] Barak”. No further information was shard on the Mossad official’s visit, and US government representatives refused to elaborate, when asked about it later. As intelNews reported on Monday, Israeli intelligence observer Ronen Bergman authored an extensive analysis in The New York Times magazine last weekend, in which he appeared convinced that Israel would attack Iran in 2012. Interestingly, America’s senior intelligence executives told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during Tuesday’s hearing that Iran has the means to build a nuclear weapon, but has not yet decided to follow through. This view is in direct contrast to the Israeli government’s insistence that “time is running out” to stop Iran from going nuclear. In a separate development, The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Israel has significantly increased the number of overseas covert operations conducted over the past year in countries such as Iran, Lebanon, and Sudan.