Analysis: US Scientist’s Espionage Arrest Raises Questions



Stewart David Nozette, who was arrested by the FBI on October 19, on charges of sharing classified US government data with a man he believed was an Israeli government officer, is to remain in jail. The reason given by the US federal judge in charge of the case is that Nozette might flee to Israel if not confined. However, unlike the case of former US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard, who was jailed in 1987 for spying on the US for Israel, the government of Israel is said to have had no role in Nozette’s attempted espionage. The FBI itself admits that it “does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under US laws in this case”. This is because Nozette shared classified US government data with an undercover FBI officer posing as a handler of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. But if this is so, then two important counterintelligence questions are raised: first, how did the FBI know to lure Nozette with an agent posing as an Israeli –as opposed to a Russian or Chinese– handler? Second, why would Nozette flee to –and presumably be protected by– Israel, even though the government of Israel was not involved in this case, according to the FBI? Keep reading →

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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