As President Biden prepares to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia next week, experts and former officials are warning that an often-overlooked issue risks undermining efforts to increase cooperation among U.S. allies in the Middle East.
That issue is anonymous U.S. officials consistently leaking information to the media about alleged covert Israeli operations against Iran, from targeted killings to explosions at nuclear sites.
“It’s a sign of extraordinary incompetence and unprofessionalism from Biden and his foreign policy team,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who also served as a senior staffer on both the House Intelligence Committee and the National Security Council. “It’s outrageous they would leak this kind of information.”
Unnamed officials recently told CNN that Israel has ramped up its covert attacks in Iran and is largely keeping the U.S. in the dark.
A month earlier, an American intelligence official leaked to the New York Times that Israel told Washington it was behind the assassination of top officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an Iranian military force and a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
The leak infuriated Israeli officials, who often share intelligence with American counterparts.
“It mainly harms trust,” Ram Ben Barak, who heads the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of Israel’s parliament, said at the time.
“We have very many close relationships and a lot of cooperation between us, which all depend on trust, and when it is violated in some way then it damages future cooperation,” he added. “I hope the Americans investigate the leak and figure out where it came from and why it occurred.”Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer explained on the podcast “Diplomatically Incorrect” that the Biden administration seems to be trying to distance itself from Israel by putting the blame on Jerusalem and keeping Washington out of it.”That’s very disturbing because that would only encourage […]
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