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Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 09/ 2/2010

Israeli spies wooing U.S. Muslims, sources say

By Jeff Stein

The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies.

The question, mostly directed to employees of the clandestine service branch, was: Which are the best allies among friendly spy services, in terms of liaison with the CIA, and which are the worst? In other words, who acts like, well, friends?

“Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.

Not only that, he added, throwing up his hands and rising from his chair, “the Israelis are number three, with China number one and Russia number two,” in terms of how aggressive they are in their operations on U.S. soil.

Israel’s undercover operations here, including missions to steal U.S. secrets, are hardly a secret at the FBI, CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. From time to time, in fact, the FBI has called Israeli officials on the carpet to complain about a particularly brazen effort to collect classified or other sensitive information, in particular U.S. technical and industrial secrets.

The most notorious operation employed Jonathan Pollard, the naval intelligence analyst convicted in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison for stealing tens of thousands of classified documents for Israel.

One of Israel’s major interests, of course, is keeping track of Muslims who might be allied with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, or Iran-backed Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

As tensions with Iran escalate, according to former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, “Israeli agents have become more aggressive in targeting Muslims living in the United States as well as in operating against critics.”

“There have been a number of cases reported to the FBI about Mossad officers who have approached leaders in Arab-American communities and have falsely represented themselves as ‘U.S. intelligence,’ ” Giraldi wrote recently in American Conservative magazine.

“Because few Muslims would assist an Israeli, this is done to increase the likelihood that the target will cooperate. It’s referred to as a ‘false flag’ operation.”

Giraldi’s piece continued, “Mossad officers sought to recruit Arab-Americans as sources willing to inform on their associates and neighbors. The approaches, which took place in New York and New Jersey, were reportedly handled clumsily, making the targets of the operation suspicious.”

“These Arab-Americans turned down the requests for cooperation,” Giraldi added,”and some of the contacts were eventually reported to the FBI, which has determined that at least two of the Mossad officers are, ironically, Israeli Arabs operating out of Israel’s mission to the United Nations in New York under cover as consular assistants.”

“Oh, sure, they do that,” the other former CIA official said, waving a dismissing hand, when I asked about Giraldi’s story. “They’re all over the place.”

The FBI did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

But a retired senior FBI counterintelligence official told SpyTalk, "They have always been extremely aggressive, and seem to feel they can operate whenever and wherever they want, in spite of being called on the carpet more than any other country by probably a factor of three times as often."

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, which routinely denies accounts of Mossad operations on U.S. soil, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The former CIA official, who discussed such sensitive matters only on the condition of anonymity, echoed the views of other U.S. intelligence sources I’ve talked to over the years about Israeli operations in the United States.

They don’t begrudge the Jewish state’s interest in keeping track of its potential or real enemies, including here -- indeed, they often say Israel is America’s best friend in the Middle East.

Which, they say, makes Mossad’s impersonation of U.S. intelligence agents all the more galling.

By Jeff Stein  | September 2, 2010; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  Homeland Security, Intelligence, Justice/FBI  
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Next: U.S. officials: Gareth Williams death not spy-related


Funny how the Israelis are so rarely mentioned in this way. Could it be because they essentially own the media, the banks, Congress ...

Posted by: MagicDog1 | September 4, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse what way would Mossad officers not be U.S. intelligence?

The FBI was able to determine who they were and what they had done, but they weren't held accountable. They act like they can't be held accountable because in reality they cannot be held accountable.

If they can't be held accountable by U.S. intelligence, then I'd think that they either are U.S. intelligence themselves, or in a superior position to U.S. intelligence.

Technically, I'd think that organizational superiors are in the same organization as their organizational subordinates, no?

Remember the USS Liberty! Friends don't strafe the lifeboats of friends.

Posted by: mymark | September 5, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Stein is a fool.

Let's look at the sources Stein uses in his article:

A) An "internal CIA poll"

B) Philip Giraldi

We can infer the CIA internal poll as unreliable because Stein does not provide background evidence or a physical link to the poll.

Giraldi is a fringe figure in the intelligence community, infamous conspiracy theorist who frequently complains about an "Israel-occupied media" in the USA.

He attacks anyone who questions his reasoning as Mossad agents.

He recently wrote an article claiming Iran is being framed for regarding its "involvement in Iraq."

If Stein actually searched for the facts and history of the Mossad-CIA relationship, rather than pandering to the anti-Israel masses, he would learn Israel has contributed quite a lot to our defense industry - more than all NATO allies combined.

If it weren't for the Mossad we wouldn't have acquired Soviet technology that Israel captured during its war with Arab states. Technology that enabled us to conquer the same weapons used in Vietnam and by Saddam.

The Mossad has also played a crucial role in the war on terror, protecting conservative Arab states from radical Muslim countries (see Yemen Civil War), and providing world-class intel in the sunni triangle.

Meanwhile, the CIA is busy training Palestinian security officers and collaborating with Saudi despots.

Recently a Jordanian-Palestinian asset working for the CIA blew himself up and killed 6 in an intelligence outpost in Afghanistan.

Many journalists have devoted their entire lives into discrediting the Israel-USA relationship as a product of some Jewish control in the USA. The reality is many Americans support Israel because Israel genuinely supports America.

The facts speak for themselves, and journalists like Stein know this which is why he refused to include them.

Posted by: AvnerStein | September 7, 2010 5:01 AM | Report abuse

To AvnerStein, What about the Mossad who where cought on the high rise filming and dancing to the burning towers, they sure knew...and they sure helped stop sep/11.
What a jokes a month later they were released & treated like heros in Telaviv.
Barbara Walters, you know who she is, said
give them a break, they're just kids.
Whith the media in their hands, Good luck America? & the banks & the gov. & & &..You name it.

Posted by: yhachemib | September 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Friends of USS Liberty who claimed an error of judgment...a mea culpa of no merit.

Posted by: juke2 | September 7, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

My tax dollars don't support israelis recruiting arabs, muslims or others to spy in this country. What arrogance they exhibit. Israeli intelligience plans and God plans and guess what God is the BEST of planners!!!!!!

Posted by: monsid17 | September 7, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Grave Concern Regarding Israeli Intelligence in the U.S.

Washington, DC | | September 7, 2010 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expresses grave concern over allegations that Israeli Intelligence agents are targeting Arab and Muslim Americans, posing as U.S. Federal Agents. The activity was recently reported in a Washington Post Article by Jeff Stein. Such activity will have a negative impact on the trust between Arab and Muslim Americans with the U.S. Federal Government. ADC calls on the Department of Justice, Department of State, and other appropriate Federal agencies to thoroughly investigate any instances of individuals, including foreign nationals, falsely identifying themselves as a U.S. government official.

ADC reminds community members, citizens and non-citizens, that you are entitled to have an attorney present in the event someone who identifies himself or herself as a government official and approaches you for questioning. You do not have to answer any question, and your refusal to answer cannot be used against you. You do not have to allow agents to enter your home without a warrant. If the agent claims to have a warrant please demand to see it. Further, please ask to see the credentials of the government official, ask the agent’s name and a business card, and call the FBI Field Office and ask for verification.

ADC will continue to monitor these reports. If you or someone you know has been approached by anyone identifying himself or herself as a government official, but you suspect or question the identity of such official, please feel free to contact the ADC Legal Department at 202-244-2990 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-244-2990 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or

Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | September 8, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

"The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies."

"Friendly foreign intelligence agencies" - isn't that an oxymoron? But never mind that, funny (and by funny I really mean hypocritical, reckless and lamentable) that the US allows Mossad agents to conduct such activities inside the US, keeping in mind that these were the same characters that stole the identities of citizens of other countries and used them to commit murder under those false identities and the flags of those countries in foreign soil.

Notwithstanding that, the US government imprisons 5 Cubans under the guise of espionage for trying to protect their country and citizens because the US unwillingness to do so (actually, because of their participation in terrorism) yet, the US gives carte blanche to the Israelis to do as they please in American soil. The hypocrisy is glaring. Goes to show who really is in charge of the US, in case there were any doubts.

Posted by: trailingbegonia | September 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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