Israeli intelligence agencies have blackmailed, bugged, wiretapped and offered bribes to U.S. government employes in an effort to gain sensitive intelligence and technical information, according to classified American documents captured when Iranian militants took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The documents, seized in November, 1979, have been reprinted in one of 13 volumes of documents and commentary published as paperback books in Iran.
The disclosures are contained in a copy of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret survey entitled Israel: Foreign Intelligence and Security Services, which intelligence sources say appears to be a faithful reproduction of the original. The 47-page document, issued in March, 1979, is one in a series of CIA surveys on foreign espionage services published for American intelligence personnel. Although it is unclear why it was in the embassy in Tehran or if surveys for other countries were also there, other captured documents indicate that U.S. diplomatic and intelligence personnel stationed in Iran tracked Israeli intelligence agents and activities there. No other surveys have been released by the militants.
The survey is based partly on publicly available information that probably did not surprise informed observers of Israel, and it contains many approving observations about Israeli intelligence. But it is also laced with reports of Israeli spying on the United States and the activities of Israel's extensive international and domestic intelligence agencies.
Nachman Shai, press spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said, "We don't have anything on it," and refused all other comment, as did the CIA.
The volume on Israeli intelligence and 11 other volumes were obtained in Iran by three American free-lance journalists and made available to The Washington Post.
While the survey and other documents in the volume on Israeli intelligence contain only a few references to individual agents or operations, they are filled with other sensitive CIA information and observations. One report pinpoints weaknesses in each of Israel's intelligence agencies, describes their relations with the intelligence agencies of other countries, charts their organizational structure, estimates personnel strength, discusses operating, recruiting and training procedures, and reflects on the personalities of the agency directors.
The CIA survey faults Israel for dependence on military intelligence, which the CIA fears may not be objective in observing and reporting foreign developments because of its interest in operations. The survey also criticizes Israel's vaunted intelligence on the Arabs as "somewhat inadequate in quality" and its agent operations as "lacking in success" in recent years.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies traditionally have enjoyed a close working relationship. Israeli intelligence considers the Arab states its primary target, especially the "confrontation" states, and is often credited by U.S. officials with providing the United States with the most extensive information on the Arab world.
But the "collection of information on secret U.S. policy or decisions, if any, concerning Israel" and "collection of scientific intelligence in the U.S. and other developed countries" ranks second and third in priority, according to the study.
Israel's "collection efforts are especially concentrated in the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as at the United Nations, where policy decisions could have repercussions on Israel and Zionist goals," the report says. Israel "collects intelligence regarding western, Vatican and U.N. policies toward the Near East; promotes arms deals for the benefit of the IDF Israel Defense Forces ; and acquires data for use in silencing anti-Israel factions in the West."
The report describes repeated attempts by the Israelis to spy on the United States. "In one instance, Shin Beth the counterespionage branch of Israeli intelligence tried to penetrate the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem through a clerical employe who was having an affair with a Jerusalem girl. They rigged a fake abortion case against the employe in an unsuccessful effort to recruit him. Before this attempt at blackmail, they had tried to get the Israeli girl to elicit information from her boyfriend."
"There have been two or three crude efforts to recruit Marine guards for monetary reward," the report says, and the Shin Beth has also tried to intimidate and blackmail personnel of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.
"In 1954, a hidden microphone planted by the Israelis was discovered in the Office of the U.S. Ambassador in Tel Aviv," the report states. "In 1956, telephone taps were found connected to two telephones in the residence of the U.S military attache. In 1960, a microphone was discovered behind the wall plaster in what had been the office of the Operations Officer in the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission Office."
Israeli intelligence "plays a key role" in exploiting scientific exchange programs, according to the report, which says, "The Israelis devote a considerable portion of their covert operations to obtaining scientific and technical intelligence. This . . . included attempts to penetrate certain classified defense projects in the United States and other western nations.
"They also attempt to penetrate anti-Zionist elements in order to neutralize the opposition. Despite such precautions, the Israelis frequently experience setbacks and there have been several cases where attempted recruitments of Americans of the Jewish faith have been rejected and reported to U.S. authorities."
The Israelis are "prepared to capitalize on nearly every kind of agent motivation," the report says, including attempts "to appeal to Jewish racial or religious proclivities, pro-Zionism, dislike of anti-Semitism, anti-Soviet feelings . . . and humanitarian instincts. Blackmail is also used. Other recruiting techniques include the proffer of money, business opportunities, or release from prisons . . . The Israelis have used false-flag recruitment pitches extensively and successfully. In several cases they approached citizens of Western European nations under the cover of a national NATO intelligence organization for operations in Arab target countries."
The report, originally prepared in 1976, periodically updated, and redistributed in 1979, says that over the years Mossad, the Israeli equivalent of the CIA, "has enjoyed some rapport with highly placed persons and government offices in every country of importance to Israel." The survey may have provided some mild surprises for the Egyptians, whose relations with the Israelis improved dramatically after the 1978 Camp David accords.
Even following Camp David, the CIA reported that outside Israel itself, the Israelis have "designated Egypt as the main target area for establishing intelligence networks. In 1970, the Israelis estimated that about 50 percent of their operational effort was directed against Egypt. The next priority is Syria."
The report also discusses political assassinations or "executive actions," although all instances discussed have been the subject of wide press coverage. "In the area of counterterrorism, at times the Israelis have carried the fight to Arab terrorists by taking executive action against them, especially in parts of the Near East and Western Europe. In particular, the fact that Lebanon has a mixed Christian, Druze and Moslem population has made that country attractive for intelligence projects. The Israelis have covert assets and run operations in their northern neighbor. In the past they have mounted paramilitary and executive action operations against Palestinian terrorist leaders, personnel and installations in Lebanon."
The report also discloses a previously undisclosed coalition of countries combating Arab terrorism, the Kilowatt group.
"At present Mossad, in coordination with Shin Beth, maintains liaison with foreign intelligence and security services through membership in the Kilowatt group, an organization which is concerned with Arab terrorism and is comprised of West Germany, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Israel," the survey says. "The Israelis also have informal connections regarding terrorism with other European nations, including Spain, Portugal and Austria." Elsewhere, the survey cites "close collaboration between the Israelis and Swiss on scientific and technical matters pertaining to intelligence and security operations."
According to the survey, the Israelis valued relationships with Turkish and Iranian intelligence, for whom they provided technical training on the use of electronic surveillance equipment. The disclosure was unlikely to have damaged Israel's generally poor relations with the new Islamic government in Iran. It may, however, have complicated relations with the Turkish agencies.
"The Israelis have over the years made efforts to break the Arab ring encircling Israel by involvement with non-Arab Moslem nations in the Near East," the survey says. "A formal trilateral liaison called the Trident organization was established by Mossad with Turkey's National Security Service (TNSS) and Iran's National Organization for Intelligence and Security (SAVAK) in late 1958. Since the original agreement there has been an addition to Mossad's bilateral relationship with each service . . . . "
By agreement with the Turks, Mossad has undertaken to furnish information on the activities of Soviet agents in Turkey and those working against Turkey throughout the Middle East, the survey said. In return, the Turks agreed to supply Israel with information on Arab political intentions which could affect Israeli security, and the activity and identifications of Egyptian agents working against Israel.
The main purpose of the Israeli relationship with the shah of Iran's secret police, the survey says, "was the development of a pro-Israel and anti-Arab policy on the part of Iranian officials. Mossad has engaged in joint operations with SAVAK over the years since the late 1950s. Mossad aided SAVAK activities and supported the Kurds in Iraq. The Israelis also regularly transmitted to the Iranians intelligence reports on Egypt's activities in the Arab countries, trends and developments in Iraq, and Communist activities affecting Iran."
The Israelis "have undertaken wide-scale covert political, economic and paramilitary action programs--particularly in Africa," the report says. The CIA assessment goes on to describe recent Israeli intelligence operations in the Third World.
* Africa: Despite the break in diplomatic relations with many African nations as a result of Arab pressures after the October, 1973, war, "the Israelis still maintain good intelligence liaison with certain African services." Their "intelligence activities in Africa have usually been carried out under the cover of military and police training, arms sales to national military forces, and aid and development programs." They have continued to have good relations with intelligence agencies in Kenya, Zaire and South Africa, and in West Africa have provided training in Liberia and Ghana.
* Latin America: "The Israelis have been very active in Latin America over the years," according to the report. "Recently, much of their liaison activity in Latin America has centered on training and antiterrorist operations. The Israeli Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, for example, provides cover for a Mossad regional station" that is responsible for Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, where they have provided training. These contacts have been used by the Israelis to pursue joint antiterrorist operations. The Israelis maintain liaison with security services in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, where they have their regional center for north and western Latin America and Central America.
East Asia: Israel has "provided intelligence training to the Government of the Republic of China" (Taiwan) and has "relations with the Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and South Korean services, especially on terrorist matters." The Israeli station chief operating out of the East Asia regional center in Singapore frequently travels throughout the area and conducts business with services in the neighboring nations, including Indonesia. "Indonesia as a Moslem nation does not have formal diplomatic ties with Israel. The Mossad-Indonesian relationship, therefore, is very discreet . . . . There are also Mossad officers in Jakarta under commercial cover." Although the primary purpose of the tie is to cooperate in counterterrorist efforts, Mossad also used the opportunity to spy and "engage in political action in another Moslem power."
Spying in Israel
In a section describing the operations of the intelligence services in Israel, the report says that "although debates in the Knesset occasionally" have focused on "probably illegal practices or procedures by the services, the intelligence and security community is completely loyal and if the government requested the execution of a certain task, legal and illegal, it would be accomplished."
Israeli domestic intelligence is said to operate under few constraints, making illegal entries into private quarters to search luggage and personal papers and tapping telephones "with some frequency."
"The young Israeli, whose life is well documented, rarely enjoys the luxury of privacy" with everything from school records to "political affiliations, voting records, family history, political persuasions and friends scrutinized."
"Police officers maintain a 24-hour watch in front of all embassies, legations, consulates, and ambassadorial residences," recording "the comings and goings of foreign personnel, especially diplomatic officers who appear after regular office hours or on weekends."
The Operational Support Department of Shin Beth, the counterespionage unit of Israeli intelligence, is responsible for telephone taps. "Running a highly developed intercept operation from a switchboard installed in Shin Beth offices," the Operational Support Department can tap telephones without tampering with local equipment or even the telephone offices, thus avoiding "any possible compromise by leftist employes of the Telephone Services."
At another point, the survey refers to the problem of discriminatory violations of civil liberties under the Emergency Regulations of 1945 that give police summary arrest and deportation powers and require residents to have travel permits in certain areas: "While the regulations originally applied to both Jews and Arabs in Palestine, they are now used largely to monitor the Arab community in Israel."
"The central body in Israel's intelligence and security community is the Va'adat, which has as its primary function the coordination of all intelligence and security activities at home and abroad," the report states.
"The Va'adat consists of the director of Mossad, the director of Military Intelligence, the director of Shin Beth, the inspector general of police, the director general of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the director of the Research and Political Planning Center of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the political, military, intelligence and antiterrorist advisers of the prime minister . . . . Meetings must be held biweekly but may be held more frequently. At these meetings each director usually provides a briefing on the key activities of his service during the preceding two weeks. The director of Mossad chairs Va'adat and in this capacity is directly responsible to the prime minister. The members of Va'adat are quasi-equal in status and the term memune referring to the director of Mossad as chairman is designed to denote a concept of preeminence among equals. In actuality, however, the director of Military Intelligence now overshadows the director of Mossad in power and importance. This development resulted from the continuing Israeli reliance on military preparedness for national survival."
This preeminence manifests itself in the responsibilities of military intelligence. The agency "prepares the national intelligence estimates and evaluates all information dealing with the Arabs," and receives the overwhelming bulk of Mossad reports on Arab affairs. "It also is responsible for developing and protecting communication codes and ciphers for all services and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and for communcations intelligence."
Elsewhere in the survey, the CIA notes that "one of the principal weaknesses of Israeli's intelligence and security system appears to be that the production of most finished intelligence and the preparation of national estimates is done by military intelligence rather than by an independent service. Inherent in such an organizational arrangement is the danger that the armed services will not be objective in observing and reporting foreign developments and in making national intelligence estimates--a major problem in the Yom Kippur War--and their vested interest in military operations will influence intelligence assessments."
The CIA says it has had difficulty getting accurate information on intelligence agency budgets, since "the funds are concealed in the defense budget," and are known to no more than nine listed individuals. This creates other management problems: "The estimates of expense by the directors, who have established reputations for honesty and integrity, are usually acceptable as a starting point for budget negotiations. The Ministry of Finance, however, does require a 10-year projection of expended financial needs (an impossible task which is not taken seriously)."
According to the survey, "The Israeli intelligence service depends heavily on the various Jewish communities and organizations abroad for recruiting agents and eliciting general information. The aggressively ideological nature of Zionism, which emphasizes that all Jews belong to Israel and must return to Israel, had had its drawbacks in enlisting support for intelligence operations, however, since there is considerable opposition to Zionism among Jews throughout the world. Aware of this fact, Israeli intelligence representatives usually operate discreetly within Jewish communities and are under instructions to handle their missions with utmost tact to avoid embarrassment to Israel."
Other organizations used for cover are Israeli Purchasing Missions, the Israeli government tourist agency, El Al (the national airline), Zim (the national shipping line), Israeli construction firms, industrial groups and international trade organizations, and a wide variety of unofficial Zionist organizations throughout the world. Elsewhere, it notes that "it is not uncommon for students to engage in clandestine operations while pursuing their course of studies."
But the report is also critical of Israeli covert operations. "In recent years . . . there also have been indications that Israeli intelligence on the Arabs, other than communications intelligence, has been somewhat inadequate in quality and their agent operations lacking in success."
The report notes that with improvements in Arab communications security, Israel's advantages in electronic intelligence gathering have diminished and can no longer compensate for inadequate human intelligence.
Several of the documents contain the sort of biographical reflections clearly not intended for public dissemination.
A May 10, 1979, State Department cable discusses the status of Israel's stand on the nature of Palestinian autonomy: "Begin's problem as he moves into the negotiations are both political and psychological . . . . Psychologically, Begin seems to have a deep-seated need to convince himself that he is not betraying his principles. Accusations to this effect by former comrades-in-arms and close associates arouse feelings of guilt and anxiety and a need to demonstrate that the charges are false."
In the survey, the CIA's last section on Israeli intelligence discusses the leadership of its Israeli counterparts. The analysis says that Avraham Achi-Tuv, director of Shin Beth, is "extremely bright, hard-working, ambitious and thorough," although "headstrong, abrasive and arrogant," that Yitzak Hoffi, director of Mossad, is "neither as flashy nor as imaginative as some of his predecessors in Mossad, but is reported to be meticulous and somewhat dour," and that the director of Military Intelligence, Yehoshua Sagi, is "soft-spoken, direct, and has a no-nonsense outloook."