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CIA Operation Against Iran

The following is adapted from the article “False Flag” by Mark Perry which appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine, January 13, 2012.

Mr. Perry’s text has been silently abridged and copyedited for clarity, but not his quotes (ellipses within a quote indicate omitted verbiage). [*]

Foreign Policy is a reputable magazine and wouldn’t have run the story if it weren’t well researched. It’s a pity, though, that the CIA agents quoted, even the retired ones, were so scared for their careers that they refused to allow their names to be made public. (Not surprising, considering the CIA is known for incompetence and worse.) However, General Joseph Hoar (ret.), former chief of U.S. Central Command, does go public with his comment on the affair.

The point is not that Israel’s false flag operation reflected on the CIA, which could hardly look worse than it already does, but that it further embroiled the U.S. in Israel’s war.

A series of U.S. intelligence memos, written during the last years of George W. Bush’s administration, describe how Israeli Mossad agents recruited members of the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as CIA agents. This according to two U.S. intelligence officials, one who has read the memos and another who is familiar with the case.

The memos concern allegations from 2007 and 2008 that the CIA, at the direction of the White House, had covertly supported Jundallah – a Pakistan based Sunni extremist organization responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian civilians. The CIA is barred from any contact with Jundallah.

The memos, based on CIA field reports, say that Israel’s false flag operation occurred in the same locations as U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, where Mossad agents posing as CIA agents met with Jundallah officials.

“It’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,” one intelligence officer said. “Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought.”

Besides the testimony of the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false flag operation was confirmed 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. Interviews with these six serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped fill in details of the operation.

According to one retired CIA officer, the existence of the Israeli false flag operation went up the U.S. intelligence chain of command and reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center, which according to its website, is tasked with investigating “threats posed by foreign intelligence services.” All three of these officials are now retired.

The report then came to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. “The report sparked White House concerns that Israel’s program was putting Americans at risk,” he said. “... 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 ... assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians.”

In reaction to Israel the United States did nothing. One U.S. intelligence officer said:  “In the end ... it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.”

Jundallah is relatively unknown, unlike Mujahedin-e Khalq, the Iranian terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the Tehran regime and is supported by former leading U.S. policymakers, but it is 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 2009 attack was just one in a long series of terrorist attacks attributed to Jundallah. In August 2007, Jundallah kidnapped 21 Iranian truck drivers. In December 2008, it captured and executed 16 Iranian border guards. 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 denies that the U.S. government had or has any ties to Jundallah. “We ... 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.

However, without the knowledge of the Israelis’ false flag operation, a number 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. Serving and retired intelligence officers say that Israeli operations might be endangering American lives.

Former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation:  “This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened, though it’s the worst case I’ve heard of.” “You’re basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes. Israel ... gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not.”

The intelligence official who first told Foreign Policy about the operation criticized Israel’s actions as follows:  “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us.”

ARI says:  “Israel is our ally in the Middle East.”

This is our ally?

*  Offered here for educational purposes only, under U.S.C. Title 17 Section 107.