Thursday, May 18, 2017

Implications of the bragging to Lavrov and Kislyak incident

The details of this are well known. Trump bragged to RUAMB Kislyak and RFM Lavrov that he has good intelligence on IS activities in Raqqa. He then let slip that ban of laptops on flights leaving the Middle East was due to information that IS had tested a IED secreted inside a laptop at Mosul University. Trump either didn't know or didn't care that there is a process he has to follow before he declassifies information and he was either unaware or didn't care that the information actually came from Israeli sources.

As soon as Gen. McMaster heard the words leave Trump's mouth he initiated a damage control operation. He/one of his people called the CIA and NSA and informed them that this information had been compromised. It is reasonable to assume that one of these agencies contacted Mossad in Herzilya and told them what had just happened.

There appears to have been a firestorm of sorts inside Tel Aviv the day after the event became public. Bibi Netanyahu found his credibility with Israeli intelligence under attack. Bibi's been a big supporter of Trump as Trump's friend Friedman is an investor in settlements in Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. A real estate group that lobbies for more development in Judea and Samaria supports Bibi in the hope that he will be able to ease the investment climate there. When Trump blabbed to the RIS about information Israel shared in confidence with USIC it put Bibi in a very bad position. Unlike the US Senate or Congress where the GOP has a comfortable numerical superiority over its opponents, Bibi hangs on by a sliver in the Knesset. If he loses the confidence of the Israeli intelligence community, his government could collapse in a day. He was very very pissed from what Israeli twitter has been saying.

Yesterday or the day before the head of AMAN arrived in DC for discussions. I found this appearance of the AMAN chief quite puzzling. Given what we now know about the details of the information, it is unlikely that this information was obtained by technical means. It could be that whoever was building the Laptop bomb in Mosul University sent a picture to some high ranking ISIS officer and that was somehow penetrated by Hatzav unit of AMAN, but it seems unlikely that ISIS would compromise its security in this fashion. I feel this kind of information could only come from a human asset.

If the source in Mosul or Raqqa was an AMAN asset, then that asset would be extremely far from home. AMAN is focused on military threats, and Mossad does the strategic threats. AFAIK the ISIS guys have never posed a military threat to Israel. I would expect that any HUMINT assets inside ISIS held territory are under Mossad's management. I suppose an asset could have been grandfathered in under from the Saddam days (Saddam as you may recall launched Scuds at Israel, that put him right in Sayaret Matkal's cross hairs and Sayaret Matkal comes nominally under AMAN) but barring that kind of thing I don't know what an AMAN agent would be doing so far from home.

It could be that the head of AMAN is being used as a proxy for the head of Mossad. If this is the case, then it sends a very worry signal as it indicates that the head of Mossad is so upset with the loss of their source that he doesn't think meeting with USIC principals is a good idea. This suggests that the relationship between the USIC and the Israeli IC has been badly badly mauled by this.

Unbeknownst to most Trump supporters (many of whom seem to be okay with virulently anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli propaganda) - the USIC and Israeli IC collaborate extensively to secure the Middle East. Given the extraordinary relationship of the US dollar and ME oil (the so called "Petrodollar") - this collaboration is actually a major linchpin of  global economic security. There have been several attempts by Russian, Chinese and Iranian ICs to destabilize the Petrodollar but so far those have failed because of strong cooperation between US allies - specifically Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This week we have most likely seen the USIC and Israeli IC alliance take a hit. Trump with his phenomenal stupidity has hurt an intelligence alliance that is crucial to the security of the Petrodollar.

And now he plans to visit Saudi Arabia.... God help us all.  

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