Mossad Posed as CIA to Recruit Pakistani Terrorists

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from Foreign Policy Magazine:

False Flag

A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to
recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

JANUARY 13, 2012

deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are
a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W.
Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers
recruited operatives belonging to the
terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents.
to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American
and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah
operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.

memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who
is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from
2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly
supporting Jundallah -- a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization.
Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating
Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental
contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was
not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also
detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities occurred under
the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of
one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA
operatives met with Jundallah officials.

officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah
is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's

amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with," the intelligence
officer said. "Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They
apparently didn't give a damn what we thought."

with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the
last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag
operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers,
the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired
intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli
intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.

and the White House were both asked for comment on this story. By the time
this story went to press, they had not responded. The Israeli intelligence
services -- the Mossad -- were also contacted, in writing and by telephone, but failed to
respond. As a policy, Israel does not confirm or deny its involvement in
intelligence operations.

There is
no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at
stopping Iran's nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent
acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many
reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which
claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device
under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The
explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past
two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.

to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag operation was
reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It reached CIA Director of
Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the
Counterintelligence Center. All three of these officials are now retired. The
Counterintelligence Center, according to its website, is tasked with investigating
"threats posed by foreign intelligence services."

report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving
U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush "went absolutely
ballistic" when briefed on its contents.

report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was putting Americans
at risk," the intelligence officer told me. "There's no question that the U.S.
has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the
Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in
the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."

relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the
day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel's activities jeopardized
the administration's fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under
intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims
that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on
U.S. personnel.

easy to understand why Bush was so angry," a former intelligence officer said. "After
all, it's hard to engage with a foreign government if they're convinced you're
killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the

A senior
administration official vowed to "take the gloves off" with Israel, according
to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing --
a result that the officer attributed to "political and bureaucratic inertia."

"In the
end," the officer noted, "it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know,
rock the boat." Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted,
the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush's national security
team, pitting those who wondered "just whose side these guys [in Israel] are
on" against those who argued that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

debate over Jundallah was resolved only after Bush left office when, within his
first weeks as president, Barack Obama drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel
intelligence programs targeting Iran, according to multiple serving and retired

decision was controversial inside the CIA, where officials were forced to shut
down "some key intelligence-gathering operations," a recently retired CIA
officer confirmed. This action was followed in November 2010 by the State
Department's addition of Jundallah to its list of
foreign terrorist organizations -- a decision that one former CIA officer called
"an absolute no-brainer."

Obama's initial order, U.S. intelligence services have received clearance to
cooperate with Israel on a number of classified intelligence-gathering
operations focused on Iran's nuclear program, according to a currently serving
officer. These operations are highly technical in nature and do not involve
covert actions targeting Iran's infrastructure or political or military

don't do bang and boom," a recently retired intelligence officer said. "And we
don't do political assassinations."

regularly proposes conducting covert operations targeting Iranians, but is
just as regularly shut down, according to retired and current intelligence
officers. "They come into the room and spread out their plans, and we just shake
our heads," one highly placed intelligence source said, "and we say to them -- 'Don't
even go there. The answer is no.'"

Unlike the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the
controversial exiled Iranian terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the
Tehran regime and is supported by former leading U.S. policymakers, Jundallah
is relatively unknown -- but just as violent. In May 2009, a Jundallah suicide
bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Zahedan, the capital of Iran's southeastern
Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan, during a Shiite religious festival.
The bombing killed 25 Iranians and wounded scores of others.

The attack enraged Tehran, which
traced the perpetrators to a cell operating in Pakistan. The Iranian government
notified the Pakistanis of the Jundallah threat and urged
them to break up the movement's bases along the Iranian-Pakistani border. The
Pakistanis reacted sluggishly in the border areas, feeding Tehran's suspicions
that Jundallah was protected by Pakistan's intelligence services.

The 2009 attack was just one in a
long line of terrorist attacks attributed to the organization. In August 2007, Jundallah
kidnapped 21 Iranian truck drivers. In December 2008, it captured and executed 16 Iranian border guards -- the
gruesome killings were filmed, in a stark echo of the decapitation of American
businessman Nick Berg in Iraq at the hands of al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In
July 2010, Jundallah conducted a twin suicide bombing in Zahedan outside a mosque,
killing dozens of people, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard

The State Department aggressively
denies that the U.S. government had or has any ties to Jundallah. "We have
repeatedly stated, and reiterate again that the United States has not provided
support to Jundallah," a spokesman wrote in an email to the Wall Street Journal, following Jundallah's designation as a terrorist
organization. "The United States does not sponsor any form of
terrorism. We will continue to work with the international community to
curtail support for terrorist organizations and prevent violence against
innocent civilians. We have also encouraged other governments to take
comparable actions against Jundallah."

A spate of stories in 2007 and
2008, including a report by ABC News
and a New Yorker article, suggested that the United States was offering
covert support to Jundallah. The issue has now returned to the spotlight with
the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and has outraged
serving and retired intelligence officers who fear that Israeli operations are
endangering American lives.

"This certainly isn't the first
time this has happened, though it's the worst case I've heard of," former Centcom
chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being
informed of it. "But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they're
extremely dangerous. You're basically using your friendship with an ally for
your own purposes. Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their
covert war, whether we want to be involved or not."

The Israeli operation left a
number of recently retired CIA officers sputtering in frustration. "It's going
to be pretty hard for the U.S. to distance itself from an Israeli attack on
Iran with this kind of thing going on," one of them told me.

Jundallah head Abdolmalek Rigi was
captured by Iran in February 2010. Although initial reports
claimed that he was captured by the Iranians after taking a flight from Dubai
to Kyrgyzstan, a retired intelligence officer with knowledge of the incident told
me that Rigi was detained by Pakistani intelligence officers in Pakistan. The officer said that Rigi was
turned over to the Iranians after the Pakistani government informed the United States that it
planned to do so. The United States, this officer said, did not raise objections to the Pakistani decision.

Iran, meanwhile, has consistently
claimed that Rigi was snatched from under the eyes of the CIA, which it alleges
supported him. "It doesn't matter," the former intelligence officer said of
Iran's charges. "It doesn't matter what they say. They know the truth."

Rigi was interrogated, tried, and
convicted by the Iranians and hanged on June 20, 2010. Prior to his
execution, Rigi claimed in an interview with Iranian media -- which has to be assumed was under
duress -- that he had doubts about U.S. sponsorship of Jundallah. He recounted
an alleged meeting with "NATO officials" in Morocco in 2007 that raised his
suspicions. "When we thought about it we came to the conclusion that they are
either Americans acting under NATO cover or Israelis," he said.

While many of the details of Israel's
involvement with Jundallah are now known, many others still remain a mystery --
and are likely to remain so. The CIA memos of the incident have been "blue bordered,"
meaning that they were circulated to senior levels of the broader U.S. intelligence
community as well as senior State Department officials.

What has become crystal clear,
however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about
Israel's actions. "This was stupid and dangerous," the intelligence official
who first told me about the operation said. "Israel is supposed to be working
with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it
was their blood and not ours. You know, they're supposed to be a strategic
asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who
just don't think that's true."