Saturday, August 28, 2004

Here We Go Again

The "Elders of Zion" conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with this story:

(CBS) CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.

At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.

CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."

This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."
This story has all the ingredients to get the likes of Pat Buchanan, Justin Raimondo and the Indymedia brigade slobbering: AIPAC, a fifth columnist within the Pentagon, Israel ... Just look here and you'll see that the usual suspects are being brought up as likely serving two masters - Feith, Perle and Wolfowitz.
So, Bush appoints Feith, Bush appoints Perle, Bush appoints Wolfowitz... and you can't fault Bush that one of his appointees hired an Israeli spy?!

That's like saying Eisenhower wouldn't have been responsible for Soviet espionage had he hired former members of the Communist Party to oversee the military.

Let me quote a few of those articles for ya...

"In 1970... An FBI wiretap authorized for the Israeli Embassy picked up Perle discussing with an Embassy official classified information..."

"In 1978, (Wolfowitz) was investigated for providing a classified document on the proposed sale of U.S. weapons to an Arab government, to an Israel Government official, through an AIPAC intermediary."

Wow. Wolfowitz?! Gee, that incident sure sounds familiar somehow.

Yeah, sure glad that the president isn't at fault here...
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:29 PM PST on August 27
I'd prefer to wait until I see some evidence before jumping to any conclusions myself, but that said, I don't really find this story all that surprising, as one tends to take it for granted that in the amoral world of foreign intelligence, even ostensible allies are bound to spy on each other (isn't that what the European outcry about Echelon/UKUSA was all about?). Indeed, the very story detailed by the conspiracy theorist quoted above indicates that the United States also does its share of spying on Israel. It's easy to make too big a deal of what is really standard operating procedure in the intelligence business, and the only thing this piece of news reveals is that the much-vaunted Israeli intelligence seems to be getting rather sloppy, a suspicion bolstered by the recent New Zealand debacle.

That I find this news less than groundshaking doesn't mean that I hope the perpetrator of this deed gets off lightly however: on the contrary, I hope he gets the Jonathan Pollard treatment, i.e, life in jail without a prayer of parole. Murder's an everyday occurrence too, but that doesn't mean those who commit it should be allowed to get off with a slap on the wrist.