MI6 chief paid ‘extremely rare’ secret visit to Israel: newspaper

Sir John SawersBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Director of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, widely known as MI6, visited Israel in secret in late August in an effort to convince the Israelis not to launch military strikes on Iran, according to a British newspaper. In an article published on Tuesday, The Daily Mail said Sir John Sawers, who leads Britain’s foremost external spy agency, held private meetings with leading Israeli officials, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. His message, according to the paper, was that London wanted more time so that the economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on Iran by the international community to bear fruit. Sanctions are considered by some in the West a viable alternative to calls by Israeli officials for direct military attacks on Iran, aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear program. If confirmed, Sir John’s visit to Israel would represent a near-unprecedented move; this is because, unlike his counterpart at the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the Director of MI6, known informally as ‘C’, does not routinely travel to foreign countries as a diplomatic messenger of the British government. Many, therefore, will see Sawers’ alleged trip to Israel as yet another sign that the Jewish state is beginning to lean heavily in favor of attacking Iran using overt military means. In a possibly related development, Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Atomic Energy said on Wednesday that he supported international sanctions on Iran. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #715 (Israel edition)

Dan MeridorBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Israeli Deputy PM says “attack on Iran won’t help us”. In this interview conducted at Israel’s embassy in London, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Dan Meridor, says that “an attack on Iran wouldn’t add anything to [Israel’s] security”. He adds that “it’s possible that we have to use force”. But, he notes, “I don’t think Israel should use the military option. I don’t agree with some of my colleagues who support a military strike”. Compare that with the last time he spoke about this issue.
►►Analysis: Beware of faulty intelligence on Iran. The experienced Israeli intelligence correspondent Ronen Bergman argues that the decision to attack Israeli militarily “will be driven to an extraordinary extent by intelligence reports” produced by Washington and Tel Aviv. For this reason, he argues, “even a slight intelligence gaffe could have an outcome of historic proportions”. Furthermore, he calls on America and Israel not to rely on “scraps of information […] as the basis for action against Iran”, insisting that “a miscalculation could be the worst possible outcome”.
►►Israeli spy Pollard back in prison after hospitalization. Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a letter to United States President Barack Obama last week urging him to consider granting clemency to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard based on his ill health. The White House rejected the appeal and now Pollard, who was convicted in 1987 for selling classified US government information to Israel, is back in prison.

News you may have missed #0081

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