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Report: Israeli Intel Posed As CIA

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"Report: Israeli Intel Posed As CIA"

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Insignia for the Sunni terror group Jundallah

According to a report in Foreign Policy, agents with Israel’s Mossad spy agency posed as CIA operatives as they tried to recruit members of the Pakistan-based Sunni terrorist network Jundallah to launch attacks against Iran. The alleged revelations come at the tail end of a week where an apparent covert war against Iran’s nuclear program made headlines when a bombing in Tehran killed an Iranian nuclear scientist, the fourth such assassination in two years.

The latest report surfaced through a U.S. intelligence memo on Mossad’s work to recruit members of the militant group. Foreign Policy learned of the memo, which was prepared at the end of the Bush administration’s tenure, and launched an 18 month investigation.

In what was known as a “false flag” operation — posing as another country’s operatives — the Mossad agents sought to build contacts with Jundallah, which is now designated by the U.S. as a terror organization. Human rights groups have long documented repression of Iran’s Balochi minority, both on the basis of sectarianism (Shia constitute the majority of iran) and ethnicity. Still, the designation of Jundallah, which commits atrocities such as bombings of Shia mosques, bars U.S. contacts.

When President George W. Bush was briefed on the memo about Mossad’s activities, he “went absolutely ballistic,” according to Foreign Policy reporter Mark Perry’s sources. Other current and former intelligence sources corroborated Perry’s report.

It’s not clear whether or not Israel’s relationship with Jundallah persists, and Perry does not disclose Mossad’s involvement in any particular Jundallah attack inside Iran. In 2008, before Jundallah’s 2010 terror designation, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker that the U.S. also had ties to the group: “According to [former CIA agent Robert] Baer and to press reports, the Jundallah is among the groups in Iran that are benefitting from U.S. support.” The U.S. has consistently denied any ties, and Perry cites an incident where a Jundallah leader was shipped by Pakistan to Iran without objection by the U.S.

The latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist comes as Iran and Western countries, through contacts via Turkey, are on the verge of restarting long-stalled talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes but the West contends, with some supporting evidence, is aimed at weapons production.

Update

In a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, an unnamed “senior Israeli government official” said the allegations in the Foreign Policy article were “absolute nonsense.”

Update

On the Israeli news website +972, Mark Perry gives an interview defending his Foreign Policy report against criticisms. “The story is as accurate as I could make it, and as well sourced as I could make it. It’s as true as the rising sun,” he said.

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