Reprinted from Antiwar
How did the Israelis know?
For an administration that has put so much emphasis on hunting down "leakers," it's pretty amazing how leaky Washington gets when it comes to matters of concern to the Israelis. Take the recent Wall Street Journal story on President's Obama's alleged letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. How did the Journal get their hands on it? All we get in the story is that the information comes to us via "people briefed on the correspondence." Briefed by whom?
Ha'aretz doesn't exactly say they got it from Israel's spies in the US, but then again the Israeli daily didn't really have to:
"Israel learned independently about the secret letter U.S. President Barack Obama sent to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to a Jerusalem official who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"The official said Israel learned about the letter shortly after it was sent. The information arrived indirectly, through channels that are not part of Israel's official contacts with the American administration."
Israeli spying on and in the US has always been a major sore spot in the "special relationship," and with relations worsening it has probably gotten way past the point described by the GAO in a 1996 report, which said Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally." More recently, a Newsweek report by Jeff Stein averred:
"Israel's espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony 'very sobering...alarming...even terrifying.' Another staffer called it 'damaging.'"
Stein's reporting came off of legislative and diplomatic efforts to get Israel in on a program dispensing with visas for visitors from some countries, but the campaign -- initiated by Israel's many friends in Congress -- hit a roadblock when the intelligence community testified as to the security implications of such an agreement. Israel's entry into the program, they feared, would unleash a flood of Israeli spooks on American soil. And the threat doesn't just come from Israeli nationals."