The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was asked to collect information about senior figures in Israel, and to assist in the gathering of information on key intelligence topics regarding military and political moves, national infrastructure and coded means of producing passports and government ID badges.
This secret task, among the WikiLeaks documents published yesterday, is included in a telegram from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, dated October 31, 2008 - a few days before U.S. President Barack Obama's victory and about two months before Operation Cast Lead.
Following the American failure to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in 2005, the head of the CIA was put in charge of human intelligence for the entire intelligence community, and delegated that authority to the CIA's secret operations wing. Giving the task of intelligence gathering to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv could be perceived as proof of American spy operations in Israel.
The American agents were asked to supply information about Israeli plans for military operations against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon and against Syrian or Lebanese targets, as well as Israel's methods of fighting terror and the impact of reserve duty in the territories on Israel's preparedness.
The American intelligence sources were also asked to report on how decisions on military operations, including retaliations against terror attacks, were made and approved. Information was also sought on Israeli contacts with Hamas and unofficial channels vis-a-vis the Palestinians, with or without permission from the Israeli leadership; positions of Israeli leaders, especially the prime minister (Ehud Olmert, at that time ) and his aides toward the United States, and on settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Other issues of interest included the possibility of development of natural gas deposts off the Gaza shore, prisoner exchanges, Israel's interrogation methods of Palestinian prisoners and the emigration of Jews from Israel and their motives.
In another telegram, dated July 20, 2009, the head of the security department in the Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, was quoted as telling participants in the American-Israeli strategic dialogue that he was unsure how much longer Egyptian President Mubarak would live and doubted the ability of Mubarak's son to take over. Gilad also said the Egyptian army continued to train as if Israel was the only enemy, and that Egyptian-Israeli peace was tenuous.
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