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

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack ObamaBy IAN ALLEN | |
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

Israel abducts American survivor of USS Liberty bombing onboard Gaza flotilla

USS Liberty

USS Liberty

Among nine US citizens abducted in international waters by Israeli troops on Monday was a survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship that was napalm-bombed by the Israeli Air Force in 1967. US Navy veteran Joe Miduras, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was among the nearly 700 civilians from 40 different countries, who were illegally abducted by the Israeli Defense Forces following a bloody raid on the Gaza  Freedom Flotilla on May 31. The 67-year old veteran was a soldier onboard the Liberty, an unarmed US National Security Agency communications surveillance vessel, when it was napalm-bombed in international waters by Israeli jets during the fourth day of the 1967 Six-Day War. Although the ship did not sink, Israeli jets machine-gunned the Liberty lifeboats carrying American servicemen, ultimately killing 34 and seriously injuring over 150 US crew members. Read more of this post

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