“Intelligence agencies never share all of their information with the other agency,” former senior Israeli intelligence official Avi Melamed told SpyTalk. “Particularly now, with regard to the political identity of the current U.S. administration, the Israeli intelligence agencies are concerned about who actually sees the intelligence that Israel provides.”
[…] Righwing swing in Mossad has hardened over years of war with Hamas, Iran threat
It didn’t take long for the United States to distance itself from Israel’s Jan. 28 drone attack on an Iranian weapons factory in the city of Isfahan. Just a few hours later, U.S. officials leaked to the New York Times that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had carried out the strike, making sure to stress the Biden administration had no involvement whatsoever. […]
[…] The Mossad defends its covert actions, insisting Iran is determined to develop a nuclear weapon and use it against Israel. The CIA says that despite Tehran’s enrichment of uranium to near bomb-grade nuclear fuel since Trump’s scrapping of the accord, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not made the decision to make a bomb.
In addition to differing interpretations of Iran’s nuclear intentions, the Isfahan attack raises other red flags now complicating the relationship between the two countries’ intelligence services. They involve questions about the Mossad’s trust in the CIA and its subsequent reluctance to share Iran-related information with the Biden administration’s CIA.
Melamed said the Mossad is particularly concerned about Rob Malley, Biden’s special representative for Iran who’s been leading the administration’s indirect negotiations with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Though those talks have been stalled for months, the Mossad believes Malley is too sympathetic to the Iranians. Summing up the Mossad’s concerns about the CIA sharing its Iran intelligence with Malley, Melamed put it this way: “I would be careful about what I share about Iran.”
The CIA’s relationship with the Mossad has “always been an area of cooperation and strain, depending on what Bibi asks them to do,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former deputy chief of CIA operations in the Middle East, using Netanyahu’s nickname.
Former CIA officials contend the extreme rightwing cast of Netanyahu’s government has not yet affected CIA-Mossad relations. “At a minimum, I would imagine senior Mossad leaders are giving assurances to the U.S,” the former senior CIA official said. “ I could see where they might be saying, ‘Hey we’ve got some crazy politicking going on here, but we want to maintain our good-standing relationship with you.’”
Stephen Slick, a former CIA station chief in Israel agrees. “Relations between the U.S. and Israel services are deep, longstanding, and institutional,” he told SpyTalk, noting the CIA did not post a new station chief in Israel when the new government came in. “I expect our services will continue to cooperate to the security benefit of both states regardless of the qualities or policies or politicians who may be serving in a broad coalition government.” […]
Jonathan Broder is a veteran reporter, editor and foreign correspondent, Broder writes about defense and foreign policy from Washington.
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