haaretz.com_0001 - 2006-07-03 david walsh - www.informationclearninghouse.info mailto:davidwalsh@haaretz.com mailto:ilanl@haaretz.co.il
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haaretz.com_0001 - 2006-07-03 david walsh - www.informationclearninghouse.info mailto:davidwalsh@haaretz.com mailto:ilanl@haaretz.co.il
From DavidWalsh@Haaretz.com Mon Jul 3 16:04:49 2006 [2006-07-03 16:04:49 188998]
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From: "David Walsh" <DavidWalsh@Haaretz.com>
To: "Google" <MUNGED@munged.ext>
Subject: FBI and Western Union
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 23:01:58 +0300
Message-ID: <743488060659856@Haaretz.com>
Reply-To: "David Walsh" <DavidWalsh@Haaretz.com>
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FBI and Western
Union helped Israel With targeted assassinations
Information from U.S.
companies helped Israel locate terror cells
By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz
Correspondent
06/30/06 "Haaretz" -- -- WASHINGTON - From the spring of
2003 until
autumn 2004, the Shin Bet security service tracked down
Palestinian
terror cells in the West Bank thanks to information from the
Western
Union money transfer service, which was passed on by the
FBI.
This fact was disclosed in a book published this week about
America's
war on terror after September 11, 2001. In "The One Percent
Doctrine,"
author Ron Suskind connects the transfer of intelligence from the
FBI
to the Shin Bet with several targeted assassinations carried out
by
Israel during this period.
Suskind, who is considered a reliable
journalist, describes how major
private companies cooperated with government
agencies such as the FBI,
the CIA, the National Security Agency and the
Treasury to monitor
communications and financial transfers after September
11, in
operations of questionable legality.
The FBI's most important
connection during this period was with First
Data, an Omaha-based electronic
fund transfer company with a global
reach. The company offered to assist the
U.S. government in the war
against terror.
FBI Financial Crimes
Section chief Dennis Lormel and his colleagues at
other intelligence agencies
eventually realized that the information
supplied by the company could be
used not only to locate and freeze
the assets of terror groups, but also to
track them in real time - in
other words, to follow the money trail directly
to the sources and
destinations of the funds.
First Data subsidiary
Western Union, with branches throughout the Arab
world and a high volume of
money transfers, was in a perfect position
to help. American intelligence
agents and company officials cooperated
in tracking the data trail and in
monitoring security cameras
installed in Western Union branches in order to
see who was picking up
the funds.
According to the book, then Shin Bet
head Avi Dichter, whom Suskind
calls an agent of change in the U.S. war
against terror, was briefed
by Lormel on the new monitoring capabilities
during one of his
frequent visits to Washington.
In April 2003,
Dichter called Lormel to ask for the FBI's help in this
regard. Dichter told
officials that the Shin Bet had information about
a courier who was expected
to be bringing money to Israel from Lebanon
shortly. The source of the money
was known, but not the identity of
the person for whom its was
destined.
In early April, 2003, an Islamic Jihad activist went to a
Western
Union office in Lebanon and ordered a money transfer to Hebron.
The
Justice Department authorized Western Union to release
this
information to the FBI and the CIA, and eventually to the Shin
Bet.
According to Suskind, all this took just minutes, enabling
Israeli
intelligence to track the person who collected the transfer in
Hebron
and to uncover the terror cell.
According to the book, this
method was used successfully many times
over the next year and a half, until
autumn 2004, when Palestinian
operatives realized that their Western Union
transfers were being used
to trap them.
Dichter told Haaretz on
Wednesday that he has never spoken with Suskind.
Intelligence cooperation
between the U.S. and Israel has increased
over the past several years, but
until now, Israel's use of
information from American companies had been kept
secret.
The Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives
approved a bill last week aimed at further increasing
intelligence
ties with Israel and other countries by establishing a new
office for
international cooperation programs within the Department of
Homeland
Security.
This atmosphere of cooperation, Suskind states in
his book, has
reinforced the sense that President George Bush wants to assist
Israel
and was not disturbed by the military operations that Ariel
Sharon's
government authorized in the territories. Suskind quotes Bush
as
saying during his first National Security Council meeting that the
U.S.
must refrain from active mediation in the
Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.
To then secretary of state Colin
Powell's argument that such behavior
could be interpreted by Sharon's
government as a green light to apply
force, Bush responded that sometimes a
show of force can clarify the
issue at hand.
Copyright 2006 Haaretz.
All rights reserved
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