Israel revises intel-sharing rules with US, after alleged disclosure to Russians

Donald Trump and Benjamin NetanyahuAuthorities in Israel have revised their intelligence-sharing protocols with the American government after it became known that United States President Donald Trump inadvertently exposed Israeli secrets to Russia. The alleged exposure of Israeli secrets came earlier this month, during a meeting between Mr. Trump and a delegation of Russian government officials, which included Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Moscow’s Ambassador to Washington.

During the meeting, the US President allegedly gave the two Russians details about plans by the Islamic State to smuggle explosives onboard airplanes, by hiding them inside laptop computers. However, according to reports in the American press, the information shared by Mr. Trump originated from Israel, which had voluntarily shared it with US intelligence. What is more, Tel Aviv had not authorized Washington to share the precise details behind this intelligence with other countries. Some reports in the US media suggest that Mr. Trump shared the Israeli-derived intelligence with the Russians in such a way as to expose ‘sources and methods’ —that is, the most sensitive aspects of the intelligence business, which intelligence agencies typically never disclose to adversaries. Additionally, even though the US president claims he never disclosed the source of the information, American media reports suggest that the Russians could easily determine that it came from Israel.

Israeli sources allegedly complained strongly to Washington, claiming that the intelligence shared by the US president “had put an [Israeli] agent’s life in peril”. Tel Aviv’s reaction appears to have been swift. On Wednesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in an interview that Tel Aviv promptly “did our checks” and “clarified [things] with our friends in the United States”. Speaking to Israel Army Radio, the official radio station of the Israel Defense Forces, Mr. Liberman said that Israel had done “a spot repair”, prompting the Voice of America to claim that the Jewish state had altered its intelligence-sharing methods with the US. Liberman was asked by the Israel Army Radio to clarify, but refused to specify what changes had been made in the Israel-US intelligence-sharing arrangements. He only added that “there is [now] unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 25 May 2017 | Permalink

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News you may have missed #632 (Israel edition)

Ari Ben-Menashe

Ari Ben-Menashe

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►►Israel FM meets Mossad chief in bid to end row. Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met on Sunday with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, in a bid to end the crisis between the two men, which culminated last week, when Lieberman ordered the foreign ministry to boycott the Mossad, to stop sharing information and to refrain from inviting Mossad officials to discussions and meetings.
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Turf war between Mossad and Israel’s Foreign Ministry worsens

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israel’s foreign affairs minister has ordered his department’s employees to stop cooperating with the Mossad, according to media reports. Minister Avigdor Lieberman, one of Israel’s most hardline nationalist politicians, accuses the country’s covert operations agency of meddling in the tasks of Israel’s diplomatic community, while at the same time refusing to share its intelligence output with foreign affairs officials. According to The Washington Times, which cites the Hebrew-language edition of reputable Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, Mr. Lieberman’s decision was prompted by the Israeli Prime Minister’s move to entrust the country’s relations with Turkey to a Mossad official. Media reports state that the spy agency’s David Meidan has been dispatched by Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkey, in order to patch up the Jewish state’s anemic relationship with its once close regional ally. This has enraged the foreign affairs ministry’s leadership, which was already upset over salary discrepancies between diplomats and Mossad spies, as well as the latter’s chronic refusal to share intelligence with foreign policy planners. The friction between the Mossad and Israel’s diplomatic community goes back decades, but Lieberman’s controversial ascendance to Foreign Affairs Minister in 2009 intensified the turf war. At the beginning, Lieberman made calculated friendly gestures toward the Mossad, in one instance going as far as appointing a former Mossad official as Israel’s first-ever ambassador to Turkmenistan. But such moves quickly gave way to direct bureaucratic confrontations, which included direct strikebreaking action by Mossad officers, who assumed the duties of Foreign Affairs officials when the latter went on strike demanding better pay and work conditions. Read more of this post

Israel to revoke citizenship for spying under new law

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A new law passed by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, allows courts for the first time in Israel’s history to revoke the Israeli citizenship of those convicted of espionage, treason, or aiding “enemy organizations”. The new law, which the Knesset enacted on Monday night by a vote of 37 to 11, amends the country’s revered Citizenship Law, which was first enacted in 1952. Along with citizenship rights, judges will be allowed to revoke the permanent residency permits of individuals found guilty of assisting organizations designated as terrorist by the Israeli government. The legislation was primarily sponsored by the ultraconservative Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party, which is led by Israel’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman. During the 2009 national elections, Mr. Lieberman campaigned on a so-called “no loyalty, no citizenship” political platform. This ultranationalist stance formed the basis of the citizenship revocation legislation enacted on Monday. The new law is in fact a watered down version of Yisrael Beiteinu’s original proposal, which included a requirement for loyalty oaths administered to all non-Jews living in Israel. Read more of this post

Strike causes rift in Israeli diplomat-spy relations

Mossad seal

Mossad seal

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Members of Israel’s striking diplomatic community say they will refuse cooperation with Israeli spies, after the latter stepped in to take over some of the striking diplomats’ tasks. The ongoing strike by the Diplomatic Association of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to eliminate the notable income disparity between Israeli diplomats and civil servants in the country’s Ministry of Defense, who make almost double than their diplomatic colleagues. The impact of the strike on Israel’s worldwide diplomatic activity has been substantial, and has included cancellations of some state-level visits. One such visit is a trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Greece, which the Israeli leader is keen on undertaking, despite the strike. Read more of this post

Israel diplomats angry at ex-Mossad man’s ambassadorial appointment

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israel’s hardline foreign minister has reportedly angered several Israeli diplomats after announcing that a former Mossad official will be Israel’s ambassador to Turkmenistan. Earlier this week, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman announced the pending appointment of Reuben Dinal as Israel’s first-ever ambassador to the central Asian nation. Intelligence observers probably remember that Dinal headed the Mossad’s bureau in Russia in the early 1990s, until he was expelled by Moscow in 1996 for allegedly engaging in “undeclared intelligence activities”. Since Turkmenistan’s independence from the Soviet Union, Israel has regarded the central Asian nation as particularly sensitive, not only because of its wealth in energy resources and the predominantly Muslim faith of its population, but also because it borders the Islamic Republic of Iran. Read more of this post

Internal war breaks out in Israel’s Foreign Ministry

Lieberman

Lieberman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A major quarrel appears to have broken out in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, after an Israeli Russian-language website accused Israeli embassies abroad of being “fertile ground for orgies, sex with minors, sexual harassment and bribery” cases, which are “being hidden from the public”. It was the latest installment in a series of articles by IzRus, one of the most popular Israeli foreign-language websites, which has also accused the Israeli foreign service of favoring a policy of discrimination against foreign-born Israeli citizens in its internal promotion structures. Several Foreign Ministry insiders consider IzRus to be the informal mouthpiece of the country’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. The website is edited by Michael Falkov, who was Lieberman’s public relations advisor in 2003 and 2004. Read more of this post