|This article appears in the December 21, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Israeli Spying in U.S. Exposé
by Edward Spannaus and Jeffrey Steinberg
Cracks Coverup of Sept. 11
[PDF version of this article]
Just about the same time that the world was being treated to the Osama bin Laden "home video" which was supposed to provide conclusive proof that cave-man bin Laden and he alone was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, a story broke in the U.S. media, starting on Dec. 11, pointing in a very different direction.
A week earlier, on Dec. 4, EIR's Executive Alert Service had provided the first public exposure of the presence of hostile Israeli intelligence teams on U.S. soil prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, which raised the question of Israeli foreknowledge of the attacks.
Then on Dec. 11, Fox News provided a more detailed account of the ongoing U.S. government probe of Israeli operations directed against the United Stateslinking the current investigation and detention of more than 60 Israelis, to Sept. 11. The Fox story, by its national correspondent Carl Cameron, reported on the 60 Israelis who are being detained as part of the Justice Department's post-Sept. 11 sweep, and reported that "investigators suspect that they may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it."
The Fox story continues:
"A highly placed investigator told Fox News there are 'tie-ins,' but when asked for details flatly refused to describe them. 'Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified, I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information,' the source said."
In subsequent stories, described below, Fox correspondent Cameron disclosed much additional information about a super-secret Israeli spy network operation in the United States which has access to records of most phone calls made in the U.S., and access to wiretap information from the FBI and other law-enforcement investigations. Some elements of the story are new, and some have been reported in bits and pieces over the past few years.
Upon being informed of the breaking story about the Israeli spy teams and their alleged foreknowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, Lyndon LaRouche commented from abroad that the story makes sense, and he urged that it be pursued and vigorously investigated. EIR views this as a matter of the highest priority, given the disaster now unfolding in the Middle East.
The truth about Israeli spying on at least two U.S. Presidential Administrations may shed much light on the reluctance of both the Clinton and Bush Administrations to rein in the Israeli madmen around Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and in the Israeli Defense Forces, which are on the verge of plunging that regionand the worldinto a new Thirty Years' War.
A cautionary note: As to Sept. 11, we are not saying that "Israel did it"as some might wish to conclude. Since the morning of Sept. 11, LaRouche has defined what took place that day as a coup attempt, run by an Anglo-American-Israeli cabal, including rogue elements of the U.S. military-security establishment, for the purpose of dragging the United States into a "clash of civilizations" conflict centering in the Middle East. What has come to light so farindicating a high-level Israeli spy operation in the United States which, among other things, has had the capacity to thwart U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence investigationsis totally consistent with LaRouche's analysis.
Israeli Intelligence Network
EIR's Executive Alert Service reported the following on Dec. 4:
"A well-placed Washington source has alerted EIR that there is growing suspicion among U.S. government law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has dispatched special operations teams into North America. The warning came in the context of a discussion about the recent deportation of five Israelis who were detained on Sept. 11 for suspicious behavior. The five men were on a rooftop in Hoboken, N.J., looking across the Hudson River at the World Trade Center as it was going up in flames, and police were alerted."
The Alert story went on to described the case of the five Israelis in New Jersey, noting that a New York Times story on Nov. 21 had noted, "The five were asked to take polygraph tests before being allowed to leave. But Paul Kurtzberg refused on principle to divulge much about his role in the Israeli Army or subsequent work for people who may have had ties to Israeli intelligence." The Alert story also reported on the detentions of two Israelis in Cleveland, both of whom had just completed their service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and that at least 50 Israelis were being detained around the country.
The came the Fox News story on Dec. 11, reporting that some 60 Israelis, "who Federal investigators have said are part of a long-running effort to spy on American government officials, are among the hundreds of foreigners detained since the Sept. 11 terror attacks." Fox also reported that Federal investigators had said that some of the Israelis had failed polygraph questions inquiring about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.
Fox News also reported that it had obtained classified documents showing that, "even prior to Sept. 11, as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the United States." And it reported on the existence of a multi-agency working group that has been compiling evidence in this matter since the mid-1990s, pointed to "an organized intelligence-gathering activity."
Amdocs: Espionage And Organized Crime
Fox ran followup stories over the next two days. The Dec. 12 segment focussed on the role of the Israeli-based private telecommunications firm, Amdocs. Amdocs has the contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the United States to handle all of their directory assistance, calling-record, and billing work, which gives Amdocs real-time access to nearly every telephone in the country, including records of phone calls.
According to the story, Amdocs has been investigated on several occasions by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, for suspected ties to the Israeli mafia, as well as to espionage. In 1999, the National Security Agency issued a TOP SECRET/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI) report, warning that all American phone records were getting into the hands of foreign governmentsparticularly the Israeli government.
"What worries some U.S. investigators is the possibility Amdocs data may be obtained by Israeli organized crime," Fox reported. "It would not be the first time. In 1997 there was a huge problem that was hushed up when FBI, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Los Angeles Police Department telecommunications were 'completely compromised by Israeli organized crime,' using the very data that Amdocs tracks."
The Dec. 13 segment again linked the Israeli spy operation to Sept. 11, opening by saying that "U.S. investigators digging into the 9-11 terrorist atttacks fear that suspects may have been tipped off to what they were doing by information leaking out of Amdocs." This segment dealt with yet another Israeli high-tech company penetrated into the heart of American security. The company cited was Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli firm with offices all over the United States, which provides wiretapping equipment for U.S. law enforcement. Under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), wiretapping was transformed. Using Comverse software, law enforcement agencies use computers and software that tap into the elaborate nationwide system of telephone switchers and routers, and grab the targetted phone conversations into computers and transmit them to investigators authorized to do the wiretaps. Comverse manages and maintains the computers and the software, giving them potential access to all of the data.
According to the Fox report, "Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned October 18th in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state, and Federal law enforcement officials, who complained that 'law enforcement's current electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they were at the time CALEA was enacted.' "
What troubles investigators most, Fox reported, is that in some cases in New York, "certain suspects have altered their behavior dramatically, right after supposedly secret wire taps have begun ... and it has many gravely concerned that they were tipped in advance."
In Israel, Fox reported, Comverse works so closely with the government that the Ministry of Industry and Trade (formerly headed by Ariel Sharon) pays 50% of the firm's R&D costs. "But investigators within the DEA, INS, and FBI," Fox noted, "have all told Fox News that to pursue, or even suggest Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide."
The May 2000 Flurry
This is not the first time the Amdocs story has surfacedas readers of EIR know. (See "What is the Israeli Blackmail on Clinton? EIR, June 23, 2000; "Israeli Spies: Mega Was Not An AgentMega Was The Boss," EIR, Aug. 31, 2001.)
In the first week of May 2000, there was a brief flurry of stories around Amdocs and Israeli penetration of the U.S. government telephone system, but the story disappeared as suddenly as it had surfaced. The first publication was in the Washington Times-linked Insight magazine, in an article entitled "FBI Probes Espionage At Clinton White House," reporting that FBI counterintelligence investigators were probing an Israeli operation to spy on top U.S. officials by hacking into secure telephone networks. "More than two dozen U.S. intelligence, counterintelligence, law-enforcement and other officials have told Insight that the FBI believes Israel has intercepted telephone and modem communications on some of the most sensitive lines of the U.S. government on an ongoing basis," the story said, adding that the investigation involved eavesdropping on calls to and from the White House, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and the State Department.
Insight reported that for a year, the FBI was tracking an Israeli businessman working for a local phone company, whose wife was thought to be a Mossad officer working out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Federal agents searched the businessman's work area, and found a list of the FBI's most sensitive phone numbers, including "black" lines used for wiretapping. "Some of the listed numbers were lines that the FBI used to keep track of the suspected Israeli spy operation," the article reported.
The tip-off about these operation apparently came from a phone manager who became suspicious about a subcontractor working on phone-billing software and hardware designs for the CIA; the subcontractor was employed by an Israeli-based company. The article reported that the means of spying involved a private company which provides record-keeping software and support services for major phone companies in the United States.
Insight did not name the company, but a story by Fox News' Carl Cameron the same day did so: Amdocs. Cameron reported that, for the previous 18 months, the FBI had been investigating Bell Atlantic and the telecommunications billing company Amdocs of Chesterfield, Missouri. Cameron reported that sources said that a senior-level employee of Amdocs had a separate T1 data phone line from his St. Louis offices running directly to Tel Aviv.
Within 24 hours of the Insight and Fox stories, the stories were spiked. On May 6, the New York Times, the Washington Post, even the Fox-linked New York Post, all ran stories denying that the FBI had found any evidence of Israeli spying in the United States. But, as an unnamed senior government official had told Insight: "It is a politically sensitive matter. I can't comment on it beyond telling you that anything involving Israel on this particular matter is off-limits. It's that hot."
Now, in the wake of Sept. 11 and the arrests and detentions that followed, the story is back. And hopefully this time, with the stakes much higher, it will be pursued to a just conclusion.