An American Jew has been caught passing military secrets from inside the Pentagon to Israeli intelligence.
Israel caught spying on America again
Israel denies it, but this is not the first time that the Israelis have been caught spying on America. The Israeli government denied it last time too. They let their agent to rot in jail for thirteen years until they were finally forced to admit that Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew, was working for Mossad. Pollard was caught selling sensitive US defence information to Israel and God only knows who else.
On 11 September 2001 five Israeli agents were arrested in New York. They had set up a camera at a safe distance from Ground Zero and were filming the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. They were seen celebrating, laughing and dancing as they filmed the unfolding disaster. From that day, America was at war with Israel's enemies.
Mossad has never been more active around the world, and is getting ever more daring. Earlier this year Mossad cell was caught stealing passports in New Zealand, and the agents were found to have links with organized crime at the very highest levels.
This latest incident exposes links between the Israeli authorities and the Jewish lobby in America. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were involved in smuggling secrets out of the country.
Any intelligence leak could endanger national security. America always shares intelligence when an ally has a legitimate "need to know" - as long as it does not put American lives at risk.
If Israel is America's friend, and the Israelis have nothing to hide, why are they operating behind our backs?
BBC News, "US examines 'Israeli spy' claim", 28 August 2004.
The FBI reportedly suspects that the analyst gave Israel access to secret material on US policy towards Iran.
US broadcaster CBS television said the suspect had ties to high-ranking officials at the Pentagon.
The suspected spy is said to have links to Douglas Feith, a key adviser to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Mr Feith, along with Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, is believed to have played a key role in planning the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
An arrest could be made as early as next week, according to an official interviewed by the Associated Press news agency.
The BBC's Nick Childs in Washington says this is potentially a very serious development because Israel is one of America's closest allies.
However, he adds that Israel has been accused of spying on the US before.
A former US navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan Pollard, was arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Citing unnamed sources, CBS reports that the alleged Pentagon spy handed over the draft of a US presidential directive concerning policy towards Iran last year.
"This put the Israelis - according to one of our sources - inside the decision-making loop so they could try to influence the outcome," the television report said.
The senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton, said he was deeply "concerned and angered" by the espionage reports.
"This is a very, very serious allegation and we just can't tolerate anything like this at all," he said.
The investigation into the alleged spy apparently involved the use of electronic surveillance devices, including wire taps.
An anonymous security official interviewed by AP appears to confirm a claim in the CBS report that the suspect is thought to have passed on the classified information to a pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).
However, Aipac spokesman Josh Block said the claim was "baseless and false".
He said the group "would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of US law or interests".
David Siegel, a spokesman for Israel's embassy in Washington said it "categorically" denied the allegations.
The Guardian (UK), "FBI fears Israel has Pentagon spy", 28 August 2004.
[ http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1292804,00.html ]
The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes an Israeli spy has infiltrated the highest level of the Pentagon and may have tried to influence United States policy towards Iran and Iraq, it emerged last night.
The FBI has launched a wide-ranging investigation into a suspected mole with ties to top Pentagon officials who is thought to have supplied Israel with classified material that included secret White House deliberations on Iran, the CBS News network reported.
"Our sources tell us that last year the suspected spy ... turned over a presidential directive on US policy toward Iran while it was 'in the draft phase'," the network said.
"This put the Israelis - according to one of our sources - 'inside the decision-making loop' so they could 'try to influence the outcome'," CBS reported.
It is not the first time the issue of Israel and espionage has surfaced, creating tension with America's closest ally.
In 1985 Jonathan Pollard, who worked in a special US Navy intelligence unit, was arrested at the gates of the Israeli embassy in Washington. Mr Pollard was tried, convicted and handed a life sentence. Israel later apologised and disbanded the intelligence cell that he operated under.
BBC News, "Israel admits it spied on US", 23 May 1998.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/91260.stm ]
Israel has officially acknowledged for the first time that an American Jew, Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in the United States 13 years ago, was one of its spies.
Pollard, a former intelligence analyst for the United States navy, is serving a life sentence in North Carolina for passing classified military documents to Israel.
Until now, the Israeli authorities had always denied that Pollard was working under their direction.
The admission came in a statement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office, and acknowledged that he was handled by high-ranking officials in a scientific relations bureau.
"In light of this fact, the State of Israel acknowledges its obligation to Mr Pollard and is ready to accept full responsibility accordingly,' the statement said.
Agent drops his own case
It said that Pollard had agreed to drop a petition pending in Israel's Supreme Court asking for a formal recognition that he was indeed an agent in exchange for the announcement.
In November 1985, while on the run from the US authorities, Pollard sought refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, but was refused entry.
Mrs Pollard has said the information her husband gave Israel over a decade ago was about the build-up of arms in neighbouring countries that some American officials did not want Israel to have.
Haaretz (Il), "FBI probe of AIPAC said to go beyond alleged mole", 2 September 2004.
[ http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/472644.html ]
In a report that hinted of possible security breaches beyond the allegations that Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin passed information to Israel via AIPAC, the Washington Post reported Thursday that classified intelligence from the National Security may have been passed to the Jewish state.
Quoting unnamed U.S. officials and other sources, the paper said that the FBI had been investigating for more than two years whether the AIPAC pro-Israel lobbying group has been passing classified intelligence data to Israel.
"The counterintelligence probe, which is different from a criminal investigation, focuses on a possible transfer of intelligence more extensive than whether Franklin passed on a draft presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran, the sources said. The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of communications, was also forwarded to Israel," the paper said,
Haatetz (Il), "Analysis / A cold wind blowing from the CIA", 28 August 2004.
[ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=470411 ]
Before former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency head George Tenet retired, he made stinging comments on various occasions to Israeli officials in the intelligence community, especially the Mossad, saying Israel had a spy in America.
The accusation was rejected out of hand - Tenet was even loudly challenged to catch any such agent and expose him publicly. The exchange of remarks was passed on to Israel, evoking surprise at the political level over the accusations.
On Friday night, the American media revealed that an investigation was proceeding into a suspected Pentagon mole who was transmitting information to AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and from there to Israel about the White House's war plans for Iraq.
Another reason mentioned in the U.S. was the refusal of Mossad to pass on information on various topics to the CIA. This could not be verified by Israeli sources.
ABC News, "The White Van", 21 June 2003.
[ http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/DailyNews/2020_whitevan_020621.html ]
Maria, who asked us not to use her last name, had a view of the World Trade Center from her New Jersey apartment building. She remembers a neighbor calling her shortly after the first plane hit the towers.
She grabbed her binoculars and watched the destruction unfolding in lower Manhattan. But as she watched the disaster, something else caught her eye.
Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. "They seemed to be taking a movie," Maria said.
The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men's faces. "They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange," she said.
She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.
The plate number was traced to a van owned by a company called Urban Moving. Around 4 p.m. on Sept. 11, the van was spotted on a service road off Route 3, near New Jersey's Giants Stadium. A police officer pulled the van over, finding five men, between 22 and 27 years old, in the vehicle. The men were taken out of the van at gunpoint and handcuffed by police.
The arresting officers said they saw a lot that aroused their suspicion about the men. One of the passengers had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock. Another was carrying two foreign passports. A box cutter was found in the van. But perhaps the biggest surprise for the officers came when the five men identified themselves as Israeli citizens.
‘We Are Not Your Problem’
According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan "during the incident" — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem." The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.
Sunday Herald, "Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001", 2 November 2003.
[ http://ww1.sundayherald.com/37707 ]
THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.
Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.
Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. To those who have investigated just what the Israelis were up to that day, the case raises one dreadful possibility: that Israeli intelligence had been shadowing the al-Qaeda hijackers as they moved from the Middle East through Europe and into America where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause.
After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: “It’s very good.” Then he corrected himself, adding: “Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans].”
If Israel’s closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world’s only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorists who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second intifada dragged on throughout 2001.
It’s not surprising that the New Jersey housewife who first spotted the five Israelis and their white van wants to preserve her anonymity. She’s insisted that she only be identified as Maria. A neighbour in her apartment building had called her just after the first strike on the Twin Towers. Maria grabbed a pair of binoculars and, like millions across the world, she watched the horror of the day unfold.
As she gazed at the burning towers, she noticed a group of men kneeling on the roof of a white van in her parking lot. Here’s her recollection: “They seemed to be taking a movie. They were like happy, you know ... they didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was strange.”
Maria jotted down the van’s registration and called the police. The FBI was alerted and soon there was a statewide all points bulletin put out for the apprehension of the van and its occupants. The cops traced the number, establishing that it belonged to a company called Urban Moving.
Police Chief John Schmidig said: “We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side. Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down.”
By 4pm on the afternoon of September 11, the van was spotted near New Jersey’s Giants stadium. A squad car pulled it over and inside were five men in their 20s. They were hustled out of the car with guns levelled at their heads and handcuffed.
In the car was $4700 in cash, a couple of foreign passports and a pair of box cutters – the concealed Stanley Knife-type blades used by the 19 hijackers who’d flown jetliners into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon just hours before. There were also fresh pictures of the men standing with the smouldering wreckage of the Twin Towers in the background. One image showed a hand flicking a lighter in front of the devastated buildings, like a fan at a pop concert. The driver of the van then told the arresting officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”
His name was Sivan Kurzberg. The other four passengers were Kurzberg’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were dragged off to prison and transferred out of the custody of the FBI’s Criminal Division and into the hands of their Foreign Counterintelligence Section – the bureau’s anti-espionage squad.
A warrant was issued for a search of the Urban Moving premises in Weehawken in New Jersey. Boxes of papers and computers were removed. The FBI questioned the firm’s Israeli owner, Dominik Otto Suter, but when agents returned to re-interview him a few days later, he was gone. An employee of Urban Moving said his co-workers had laughed about the Manhattan attacks the day they happened. “I was in tears,” the man said. “These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, ‘Now America knows what we go through.’”
Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”.
This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 28 August 2004.
Tags: Israel, spying, on, America, Israeli, spy, Mossad, agent, Pentagon, secrets, American, Jewish, Lobby, , conspiracy theories.