A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives In Week Ending September 2

Suspected Israeli Spy in Pentagon: First the Leak, Then the Fallout


28 August: It is very likely that one or more arrests will ensue from the leaked report run by CBS News Friday, August 27, of a high-profile FBI probe against a Pentagon official on suspicion of passing secrets to Israel through two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC.


The denials are but initial knee-jerk reactions to the first disclosure in the pre-arrest stage of the affair. But even the first report is remarkable for its multi-targeted sweep. Impugned is the top policy advisory level of the Department of Defense – from deputy defense secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, through Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy and William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. He oversaw the Pentagon’s “Office of Special Plans,” which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq including issues of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s links to al Qaeda.


The unit’s work is a vital White House policy tool on the Iran question as well as Iraq. It is one of the two Pentagon offices that Bush administration critics accused Pentagon hawks of setting up to bypass the CIA and other intelligence arms. The possibility cannot be ruled out that by leveling a single sensational accusation, some American intelligence element believing itself sidelined struck out against Bush, his top team and his policies by the simple device of tarring Israel and the influential organization representing its cause in Washington – in one fell swoop.


Without being spelled out, the implication has been planted that, 19 years after the Jonathan Pollard affair, Israel is still running moles to dig out American secrets in order to manipulate US policies for its own rather than American interests. Innuendo will cause Israel incalculable damage in the United States, even before the FBI establishes whether or not it has a case.


Was the probe leaked for the ulterior motive of hurting the Bush run for re-election against Senator John Kerry, by suggesting that his key decisions on the Iraqi war were determined not only by the neocons of his administration but by a foreign mole? Or was the motive quite different? Might it not have been designed for showing the president as having rid himself of the influence of the Pentagon team and Israel by the very fact of the probe against them?


If the latter, it would mean that the Bush administration has given up on Sharon and his chances of forcing through his disengagement plans and is ready to drop their collaborative relations.


Nov. 13, 2001 Air Crash over New York Was Work of Shoe Bomber No. 1, Says Canadian Intelligence


30 August: According to a top secret Canadian government report, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York, had a sequel two months later. On November 13, 2001, American Airlines flight 587 crashed over Queens, New York, shortly after takeoff from JFK killing all 265 people aboard. A captured al-Qaeda operative, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible, using a small shoe bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid for his “suicide mission.” He named Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen known also as “Farouk the Tunisian.”


Asked for a comment, US National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, Ted Lopatkiewicz, still insisted there was no evidence of anything other than an accident (in the plane crash over Queens.)


The same kinds of claims were made officially three years ago too. Yet on November 15, 2001 debkafile‘s counter-terror sources maintained that the downing of Flight 587 was the work of terrorists:


The information accumulating opens up the possibilities of a bomb having been planted near the tail of the Airbus, or a suicide bomber blowing himself up in the rear of the aircraft. The plane came down shortly after taking off for the Dominican Republic from John F. Kennedy International airport. Another scenario under investigation is that a surface-to-air missile was fired from a boat in Jamaica Bay near the airport.


According to DEBKAfile‘s intelligence sources, a number of people linked to Al Qaeda in New York behaved suspiciously several hours before the crash; some, who were under surveillance following the September 11 attacks, managed to disappear.


Those sources also noted that the US F-15 warplanes, on 24-hour patrol in the skies of New York and other major US cities, were ordered immediately after the crash to search for any boats or unusual activity in the Jamaica nature reserve.


The morning after, Wednesday, November 14, divers were seen scouring the marsh area for signs that missiles had been fired at the plane, such as a launcher or a scuttled boat, on the assumption that the terrorist who fired the missile escaped in a scuba suit.


Iran-Backed Hizballah Bid for Control of Gaza Strip Will Escalate Terror


31 August: Hamas-Hebron claimed responsibility for the double suicide attack Tuesday, August 31, on two crowded Beersheba buses, which left 16 Israelis dead and up to 100 injured. The same morning, a Palestinian suicide bomber was apprehended at the Erez crossing on his way from the Gaza Strip to Israel with a new type of explosive hidden in his pants.


Palestinian terror is again rampant, in the belief that it has the power to defeat Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan. Ready until the last to assume responsibility for security in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s departure, the Egyptian government has finally backed off.


All of a sudden, Israel is faced with the Iranian-Hizballah menace at perilously close quarters in the Gaza Strip and not just from Lebanon. Hizballah and its Tehran sponsor will want to spread their wings to Palestinian West Bank areas too and then to Israeli Arab communities, where they have already planted sleeper cells. Ensconced now in the Gaza Strip, the Lebanese Shiite group will very soon be upgrading the weapons and military professionalism directed against Israel. The primitive, hit-or-miss Qassam, Nasser and al Quds missiles lobbed at Israeli towns in the south can be expected to make way for longer range, more precise ground-to-ground missiles, which pack a more powerful explosive punch.


The Israeli prime minister, instead of reassessing his evacuation plan in the light of the new peril, is stepping up the pace of its implementation. He appears to be as unheeding of the dangerous new hands preparing to claw at the southern half of Israel as he is of the criticism leveled against his plan by Israel’s elected institutions and military chiefs. The decline in his standing as representative national leader has created a vacuum which the judiciary and legal authorities are exploiting in order to stretch their jurisdiction to areas into which they never before ventured. For the first time, on Monday, the attorney general, whose authority is advisory, interfered in a matter of high national security. In a security cabinet discussion on how to halt the Qassam offensive from the Gaza Strip against southern Israeli towns, Sharon said: “It they are shelling us, we should shell them.” No, said Menachem Mazuz. “Shelling civilians would be a war crime.” Sharon retorted: “No one is talking about that.”


Supreme Court justice Aharon Barak’s veto on sections of the defense barrier interfering with Palestinian lives has gone unopposed to the point that the court now poses as arbiter of political and security policies. Beersheba, which suffered two suicide bombing attacks on two municipal buses Tuesday, is completely unprotected because of petitions Palestinians have filed with the high court in Jerusalem against building the fence on Mt. Hebron.


Sharon’s particular style of government and his inconsistencies are responsible for these spillovers of authority among the various branches of government and the pervasive sense in the country that important affairs of state including security are slipping out of control.

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