Comment: There Is No Such Thing as ‘Friendly Espionage’

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack ObamaBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last month we reported on a story published by The Associated Press, according to which the Near East Division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency views Israel as the most serious threat to its secrets. The report cited interviews with several current and former US intelligence officials, who said the CIA views the Israeli spy community as “a genuine counterintelligence threat” to American interests. But Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum and well-known American supporter of Israel, has authored a well-researched response to the Associated Press piece, in which he argues that reciprocal spying has been a decades-old element in Israeli-American relations. He recalls the case of Yosef Amit, a Major in Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, who in 1986 was arrested for spying on behalf of the CIA. Amit is believed to have been recruited by US intelligence in Bonn, West Germany; it is said that his handler was Tom Waltz, a Jewish CIA officer from the Agency’s station at the US embassy in Tel Aviv. Amit was convicted in 1987 and stayed in prison until 1993, when he was released after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Pipes also quotes Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s Ambassador to Washington from 1993 until 1996, who has said that, during his tenure as Israel’s envoy in DC, it was common knowledge among embassy staff that “the Americans were […] tapping our phone lines”, including the embassy’s secure line. Consequently, claims Rabinovich, American intelligence potentially had access to “every juicy telegram” communicated to or from the embassy. Read more of this post

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Ex-diplomat: US thinks Israeli spy Pollard was not acting alone

Itamar RabinovichBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
One of Israel’s former ambassadors to Washington has told a radio program that United States officials suspect Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American who spied for Israel in the 1980s, was not acting alone. Itamar Rabinovich, who was Tel Aviv’s most senior diplomat on US soil from 1993 to 1996, told Israel Radio on Monday that this is probably the reason behind Washington’s refusal to release the imprisoned spy. Pollard was a US Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, in exchange for money, from 1984 until his arrest in 1986. Many in US counterintelligence consider him one of the most damaging double spies in American history. But he is widely viewed as a hero in Israel, and Israelis, as well as many pro-Israel Americans, are actively pressuring the US administration of President Barack Obama to release him. According to Rabinovich, however, the main reason behind the US refusal to release Pollard is that officials in the US Intelligence Community think that Israel has concealed the full extent of his activities on US soil. Furthermore, Rabinovich said in his interview that Washington believes Israel has shielded other Americans who either collaborated with Pollard or worked alongside him at the time. “They suspect that he wasn’t the only one, that there were additional Pollards”, said Rabinovich, adding that “Israel, despite its promises, did not reveal all the cards in this case and in similar cases”. The former ambassador said that, to his knowledge, “Israel [still] hasn’t said everything” to the Americans about the extent of Pollard’s espionage activities on US soil. Expounding on this, he said that “the claim concerning the enormous damage done to the Americans” by Pollard’s activities is one thing, “but there is also a hidden [claim], which is not voiced openly, but is implied”. The Americans, said Rabinovich, are “punishing Israel at Jonathan Pollard’s expense. They are angry with Israel more than with Pollard”. Read more of this post