The CIA and Palestinian Authority

JINSA previously argued that inserting the CIA into Israeli-Palestinian security relations was a mistake (JINSA Report #85 — 27 October 1998) because:

JINSA previously argued that inserting the CIA into Israeli-Palestinian security relations was a mistake (JINSA Report #85 — 27 October 1998) because:

a) The mission is political. “It makes the CIA a partner to Israel and the PA, inescapably subject to the politics of the relations between a foreign government and a foreign entity, and relations between both of them and the US government.” b) It makes the CIA arbiter of Israeli security concerns — a role that can only acceptably be fulfilled by Israel. “Three-way arbitration…means Israel is looking at ‘majority rules’ on the single issue that is the heart and soul of sovereign responsibility.” c) The CIA has missed a number of key intelligence calls. “This is the same CIA…that was surprised by the Indian nuclear explosion in May [1998] and said of the Korean missile shot over the Japanese mainland in August, ‘We didn’t know they could do a third stage.'”

Looking back it appears that we missed two points.

The NYT, reporting on CIA involvement with the Palestinian Authority, wrote this week:

[In 1996] Mr. Clinton signed a presidential order creating a covert program to provide tens of millions of dollars to increase the professionalism of the Palestinian security services and help combat terrorism, the officials said. The CIA sent operatives to train the Palestinians in interrogation techniques and to organize their files. The Palestinians were showered with advanced radio communications and X-ray equipment, bomb detection scanners, computers, vehicles and other equipment.

Does Congress know where those “tens of millions of [American tax] dollars” went? On whom do they use those “interrogation techniques”? Israelis? Palestinians who are insufficiently enthusiastic about Arafat? Are the “radio communications” used to direct rioters? “Vehicles and computers” must be helpful in the guerrilla war, too.

The first point we missed is theoretical. Why would anyone have thought Arafat would take this training and equipment and use it for the purpose of protecting Israelis (his adversaries) from Arabs who would do them harm (his allies)? We should have understood that the CIA would likely end up training the Palestinian “police” to conduct terrorist activities itself.

We’re not naive. We understand that the CIA has been used to help “bad guys” who were working against America’s enemies. But now we’re helping “bad guys” against Israel!

That is the second point. The NYT says CIA Director George Tenet “bonded” with Yasser Arafat, and describes how the President sent him to keep Arafat in the game at Camp David. We’re more than a bit concerned about any American official who can bond with the sleazeball terrorist who masterminded the killing of Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d’Affaires George Moore in Sudan; the man whose operative threw Leon Klinghoffer off a boat; whose minions shot photographer Gail Rubin; who harbors the killers of a dozen Americans in Israel; and who encourages anti-American as well as anti-Israel violence as a matter of policy.

This administration has been pounding on Israel for eight years to take “risks for peace.” They shouldn’t have been increasing those risks at the same time.