Bush “did nothing” about Mossad using US passports to recruit terrorists

Jundallah ForcesBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Current and former American intelligence officials have accused Israeli spy operatives of posing as US citizens to recruit members of a Pakistani terrorist group in a covert war against Iran. In an explosive exposé, the respectable US-based journal Foreign Policy has revealed that officers of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency used forged US passports to pose as American personnel of the Central Intelligence Agency. They used their fake American identities to contact members of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jundallah, which is responsible for numerous brutal strikes against civilian targets in Iran. Jundallah (soldiers of God) is an extremist militant organization that claims to be fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran. Most of its members belong to the Baluch ethnic group, which is concentrated along the Iranian-Pakistani border. The Foreign Policy article cites interviews conducted over the past 18 months with six anonymous US government officials, including two serving intelligence officers and at least two others who “have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the US government”. They told the journal that, in 2007, during the concluding years of the administration of President George W. Bush, the CIA discovered that the Mossad was using forged US passports and US currency to court and fund Jundallah operatives, in a series of secret meetings in London, England. One US government source told Foreign Policy that American officials “were stunned by the brazenness” of the Mossad, saying: “it’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with […]. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought”. A retired CIA officer told the journal that Agency analysts drafted official memoranda that made their way “up the US intelligence chain of command”, eventually reaching the White House. The CIA officer added that President Bush “went absolutely ballistic” when briefed on the Mossad operation. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #578

Syria

Syria

►►CIA agent who helped kill Che wants payout from Cuba. This is from the “news that isn’t” department: Gustavo Villoldo, a Cuban-born CIA operative, who helped track down and kill Che Guevara in Bolivia, has won $2.8 billion in damages from the Cuban government, for confiscating his family property after the 1959 revolution. But he is unlikely to ever collect the money because Cuba does not recognize US court rulings.
►►Cheney wanted Bush to destroy suspected Syrian nuke site. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney says in a new memoir that he urged President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in June 2007. But, he wrote, Bush opted for a diplomatic approach expressed misgivings. Eventually Israeli jets bombed the site. Cheney’s account of the discussion appears in his autobiography, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, which is to be published by Simon & Schuster next week.
►►South Korea indicts five for spying for North. Five South Koreans, including a former parliamentary aide, have been indicted for allegedly spying for North Korea, in connection with the Wangjaesan spy ring.

News you may have missed #449

  • Damning report on CIA attack on missionary plane. US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved with a secret counternarcotics mission in the Peruvian jungle routinely violated agency procedures, tried to cover up their mistakes, and misled Congress immediately after a missionary plane was accidentally shot down in 2001, according to a blistering CIA internal report released on Monday.
  • Israeli legislators call on US to release Jewish spy. Members of the Israeli Knesset are calling on US President Barack Obama to pardon American-born spy Jonathan Pollard, having been jailed in a maximum-security facility since 1985. George Bush refused to pardon Pollard in the last days of his presidency.
  • Analysis: Britain’s MI6 operates a bit differently than CIA. “Like the CIA, MI6 has a website, but while the U.S. agency site is only in English, MI6’s is also in Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese. Another sign of British sophistication: while the CIA site has games and quizzes for kids, the MI6 site gives short tests to allow potential recruits to assess their analytical and administrative skills”. Interesting comparative assessment by Walter Pincus.

Israel offers settlement freeze in exchange for US spy’s release

Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israeli government officials are considering extending a settlement freeze in Israeli-occupied territories in exchange for the release of an American citizen serving a life sentence for spying on the US for Israel. Laura Rozen over at Politico reports that a representative of the embassy of Israel in Washington DC has denied knowledge of the rumored deal. But according to Israel Army Radio, an envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already “unofficially” passed the proposal along to US government officials. If accepted by the White House, the deal would involve the freezing of all new construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in exchange for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Navy intelligence analyst who in 1987 was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying on the US on behalf of Israel. Pollard, who has since been awarded honorary Israeli citizenship, and is considered a hero in Israel, has so far served 25 years in prison. Read more of this post

Analysis: Can the CIA sabotage the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

Shahram Amiri

Shahram Amiri

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is no doubt that the CIA has been actively trying to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program since at least February of 2008, when US President George W. Bush authorized Langley to intensify its covert efforts against Tehran. It is also true that the US was able to partially sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by eliminating the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, and by employing scientific front companies and cooperative suppliers, who gave the Iranians faulty hardware. The defection to Washington of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri provides recent evidence of the existence of a covert US project to “decapitate” the Iranian nuclear weapons program, by luring away leading Iranian researchers. On the other hand, it is worth wondering why the CIA chose to remove Amiri from the Iranian nuclear program, instead of asking him to remain an agent-in-place, which would have been far more beneficial for Langley. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0161

  • No new clues in released Cheney FBI interview. Early in October, a US federal judge ordered the FBI to release the transcript of an interview with former US vice-president Dick Cheney, conducted during an investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. There were rumors that the classified transcript pointed to George W. Bush as the source of the incriminating leak. But the released interview transcript contains nothing of the kind.
  • Sir Hollis not a Soviet agent, says MI5 historian. “Sir Roger Hollis was not merely not a Soviet agent, he was one of the people who would least likely to have been a Soviet agent in the whole of MI5″, according to Professor Christopher Andrew, author of the recently published In Defense of the Realm. Dr. Andrew’s comments were in response to the book Spycatcher, by former MI5 officer Peter Wright, which alleges that Sir Hollis, former head of MI5, had been a KGB agent.
  • New report says nuclear expert’s death was not suicide. A new autopsy into the death of British nuclear scientist Timothy Hampton has concluded that “he did not die by his own hands”, as previously suggested. The post-mortem examiner said Hampton “was carried to the 17th floor from his workplace on the sixth floor” of a United Nations building in Vienna, Austria, “and thrown to his death”.

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FBI ordered to release Cheney records in Valerie Plame probe

Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A US federal judge has ordered the FBI to release the transcript of an interview with former US vice-president Dick Cheney, conducted during an investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Plame sought compensation after she was publicly named as a secret CIA operative. Along with her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, she has fought a legal campaign, arguing that several Bush administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, and even President George W. Bush himself, were behind the leak of her CIA role. Cheney had a lengthy interview with prosecutors pursuing the leak case, but the transcripts of the exchange have so far remained secret on national security grounds. But US district Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said yesterday that there is no justification to withhold the entire interview since the FBI investigation has now concluded. Read more of this post

Obama administration opposes release of Cheney records in Valerie Plame case

Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Obama administration officials are pressuring a US judge to stop the release of former US Vice President Dick Cheney’s records in the case of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame. Plame sought compensation after she was publicly named as a secret CIA operative. Along with her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, she has fought a legal campaign, arguing that several Bush administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, and even President George W. Bush himself, were behind the leak of her CIA role. Cheney had a lengthy interview with prosecutors pursuing the leak case, but the transcripts of the exchange have so far remained secret, on national security grounds. Read more of this post

Analysis: Israel Lobby Ousts US Intelligence Nominee

Chas Freeman

Chas Freeman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The near-hysterical reaction by Washington’s pro-Israel lobby against Charles “Chas” Freeman’s candidacy for National Intelligence Commission (NIC) Director has paid off. On Monday, Freeman, a State Department official with 44 years’ experience in the US diplomatic service, decided to withdraw his nomination to head the NIC –the government agency that works with the US intelligence community to compile national intelligence estimates. On February 26, Freeman, who was US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, was nominated for the job by Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. Blair had said the veteran diplomat would bring with him to the post “a wealth of knowledge and expertise in defense, diplomacy and intelligence”. But Freeman’s nomination was met almost immediately with vehement opposition from pro-Israeli lobby groups in Washington. Republican members of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as at least ten House Representatives, began a vocal campaign to stop Freeman’s NIC candidacy. Chief among the pro-Israel lawmakers were two Jewish Democrats from New York, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Steve Israel. Along with another usual suspect, “independent” Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, they described Freeman as a “controversial” diplomat with “strong political opinions”, who “appear[s] inclined to lean against Israel” with “statements against Israel [that] were way over the top”. Read article →

Analysis: Why Did Bush Not Pardon Israeli Spy?

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In his latest article for The Santa Barbara News Press, Robert Eringer, the former FBI counterintelligence agent who now works for Prince Albert II of Monaco, reminds intelligence observers of the case of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard. Pollard, who has so far served 24 years of a life sentence, was found guilty in 1987 of spying on the US on behalf of Israel, while working as a US Navy intelligence analyst. Since his arrest and conviction, Pollard has been considered something of a national hero in Israel, and an enormous effort has been launched to secure his release. Israeli newspapers, whose articles routinely liken Pollard to Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006,  disclosed earlier this month that a “massive campaign was conducted behind the scenes in Washington to persuade US president George W. Bush to commute Pollard’s sentence”. The effort, which included “tens of thousands of phone calls” that “flooded the White House”, was so enormous that several Israeli insiders considered Pollard’s release almost certain. Pollard remained imprisoned after all, and the question is, why did George W. Bush not succumb to these lobbying pressures? Read article →

Comment: Bush blaming intelligence for Iraq debacle is cowardice

US President George W. Bush commented on ABC News last week that the biggest regret of his Presidency is “the intelligence failure in Iraq” and that he “wish[es] the intelligence had been different, I guess”. This response by the President to a question concerning his Presidency’s “do-overs” represents the ultimate political cowardice. In blaming the intelligence services for the Iraq invasion debacle, George Bush knows that, as a matter of standard policy, the intelligence community is unable to respond to these allegations. Read Article →