Dimi Reider at +972 talked to Mark Perry about “False Flag,” his report in Foreign Policy yesterday which revealed that Mossad agents had posed as CIA officers in order to recruit anti-Iranian terrorists.
Quite a few readers have questioned the coincidence of the story running just days after yet another assassination of an Iranian scientist. Is it a coincidence? How long have you been working on the story?
I know there is a great deal of skepticism about the timing of the story. And I know too that people will simply not believe it is a coincidence. In fact, it is. I thought two weeks ago that, after eighteen months of work, the story was in jeopardy of being released by another publication. And in truth, I did not decide to actually publish the story until the Friday before its appearance. And even then, at the last minute, I put the story on hold — to give a number of contacts of mine a chance to weigh in, and to give the U.S. and Israeli governments a chance to respond officially — or off the record. And I made it clear to officials here that I was willing to withdraw the story if there was reason to doubt its accuracy for any reason, or if in their estimation, it would harm my country. I received no response. The story appeared yesterday because that is when I, and Foreign Policy, felt comfortable with every one of its details.
The same Haaretz report speculated the revelation could endanger Israel-US ties in the same way the Pollard affair did, and that this is why the Mossad is as a policy opposed to “adventurous endangerment of its relationship to the American community.” Is this likely?
I am an historian — that is really my first career. I have studied and written extensively about the politics of the American and British high command in World War Two (Partners In Command is my book on George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower). During that alliance, key senior officers of both the U.S. and Great Britain held high level conferences to determine military strategy. During those conferences there was shouting, deep disagreement — in one case, nearly a fistfight. Allies disagree. Why wouldn’t the same be true now, between Israel and the U.S? No alliance is perfect, no country walks in lock step with another, and it would be naive to suppose it. There are problems between the U.S. and Israel, but that isn’t new. Nor should believe that the strategic relationship and deep friendship we have with Israel will change. My sense is that, despite the problems, there is a commitment on the part of the administration to make certain that, as with all alliances, a common purpose outweighs all disagreements. Frankly, if the Pollard incident didn’t end the U.S.-Israel relationship, then this won’t.