White House confirms CIA Director visited Ukraine

John BrennanBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
White House officials has confirmed that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency visited Ukraine over the weekend, following reports in the Russian media. On Sunday, Moscow urged Washington to respond to allegations in the Russian press that CIA Director John Brennan had made an incognito visit to Ukrainian capital Kiev. The reports alleged that Brennan, who assumed the directorship of the CIA a year ago, traveled to Ukraine on official business under a false identity in order to avoid attention. Russian media further alleged that the CIA head met with a host of Ukrainian intelligence and security officials and advised them on how to respond to the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. Initially, Washington denied comment on the allegations. But early on Monday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Brennan had indeed traveled to Ukraine over the weekend. He said that the White House normally declines comment on the whereabouts of the CIA Director. However, “given the extraordinary circumstances” in the case of Ukraine, he said he was willing to confirm that Brennan was in Kiev over the weekend “as part of a trip to Europe”. He went on to state that he hoped the official confirmation of Brennan’s trip by the White House would suffice to discredit the “false claims being leveled by the Russians at the CIA”. Carney added that there was nothing inherently suspicious about a CIA Director’s trip to a foreign country. He argued that “senior-level visits of intelligence officials [abroad] are a standard means of fostering mutually beneficial security cooperation” and that such visits —some of which have been to Russia— go back “to the beginnings of the post-Cold War era”. Read more of this post

White House silent on rumors of ‘alarming’ info about Iran nukes

Ehud BarakBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The White House has refused comment on news from Israel that a recent American intelligence report contains “explosive” new findings on Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz said yesterday that, according to Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran is currently “being passed around senior [government] offices” in the United States. Speaking on Thursday on government-owned Israel Radio, Barak said that the new NIE has brought American estimates on Iran’s nuclear program “closer to the Israeli position”. The NIE is a classified report, produced annually, that presents the consensus view of the US Intelligence Community on critical issues affecting American national security. Notably, a series of recent NIE reports have consistently argued that the Iranian government remains essentially indecisive about whether to militarize its nuclear program. IntelNews regulars may recall that, according to The New York Times, Israel’s primary external intelligence agency, the Mossad, is in broad agreement with the premise of recent American NIEs. Like its American equivalent, the CIA, the Israeli agency does not believe that Iran’s nuclear program has been militarized at this point. There is, however, one crucial difference between American and Israeli estimates on the subject: namely Tel Aviv’s view that the Iranian nuclear program should be militarily confronted regardless of Tehran’s future policy goals. According to Barak, the new American intelligence report contains “alarming […] information” that Iran has achieved “surprising, notable progress” on the research and development stage of its nuclear program. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #746

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Germany charges alleged Moroccan spy. German Federal prosecutors on Tuesday said the suspect, identified only as Moroccan-German dual national Mohammed B., was spying for Moroccan intelligence on supporters of the POLISARIO Front, which seeks independence for the Western Sahara region. They say he was paid €22,800 for the work in 2011, and then falsified invoices to claim he had done work for Morocco’s state airline to disguise where the money originated. He was arrested in February but released from custody on June 5 after prosecutors say he admitted to the charges.
►►Delisle spy case in Canada adjourned until July 4. The case of Canadian navy intelligence officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle, who is accused of espionage, has been adjourned until next month, because his lawyer, Mike Taylor, says he needs more time to review information about his client. According to Taylor, much of the information he has received so far from the Canadian government has been redacted because of security concerns. Moreover, he said that the “voluminous” amount of information has to be vetted by several justice and intelligence agencies before it can be handed over to him, slowing down the process of moving the case forward.
►►Obama to deny Israeli calls for Pollard’s release. The administration of US President Barack Obama has indicated that it will reject any appeal by senior Israeli political figures to commute the life sentence of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. “Our position has not changed and will not change today”, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing last week. “Mr. Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes”, he said.