OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE WHEN FIRST WE PRACTICE TO DECEIVE (Sir Walter Scott)
MEGA STORY IS A POTENTIAL “MEGA-STORY”
The MEGA story indeed is a “mega-story” if allowed to surface and to be properly investigated. It shows the potential costs of treachery and lies at the highest levels of the U.S. Government and how cover-ups can wind up causing more cover-ups, corruption causing more corruption, breaches of national security causing more breaches, lies necessitating more lies, that continue to this day with ramifications that continue to this day.
The Bill and Monica story was always about a lot more than the letter “V” of the “Oval Office” being replaced with the letter “R”.
THE MEGA-STORY OF “MEGA”: WHO WAS OR IS HE OR SHE? WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE? (Research Notes from Gideon’s Spies by Gordon Thomas)
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MEGA: WHO IS HE OR SHE AND WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?: INTRODUCTION FROM GIDEON’S SPIES: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MOSSAD 2012 OR 7TH EDITION, BY GORDON THOMAS, THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS, N.Y. 2012
“Then, in April 1997, Rafi Eitan’s name began to surface in connection with a Mossad spy in Washington whom the FBI identified as code-named “Mega.”
His own well-placed source within Mossad had told Rafi Eitan that the FBI had begun to explore the role Mega could have had in the way Jonathan Pollard had been run. The FBI had recently interviewed Pollard in prison and he had admitted that even his high security clearance had not been enough to obtain some of the documents his handler, the funereal Yagur, had requested. The FBI knew such documents had a special code word through which they had to be accessed, which changed frequently, sometimes even on a daily basis. Yet Yagur had seemed to know the code within a matter of hours to give to Pollard. Had Mega provided it? Was Mega the second Israeli spy in Washington the FBI had long suspected? How close had he [or she?] been to Rafi Eitan?
These were the dangerous questions now being asked in Washington that could shatter the relationship between Washington and TEl Aviv.
After the FBI had identified him as the puppet master behind Pollard, Rafi Eitan had accepted that his time in Israeli intelligence was finally over. He had looked forward to ending his days facing no greater risk than being scorched from the blowtorch he wielded when forming his sculptures.
Instinctively he knew that events in Washington posed a threat not only to him–a CIA snatch squad could try to grab him as he came and went from Cuba and bring him to Washington for questioning, and there was no way of telling what would happen then; but the discovery of Mega’s existence would also be exercising minds in the upper echelons of the Israeli intelligence community’s Va’adat Rashei Hasherutim–the Committee of the Heads of Service– whose primary function is to coordinate all intelligence and security activities at home and abroad.
But even they knew nothing about who Mega was. All they had been told was that he was highly placed in the Clinton administration. Whether the president had inherited him from the Bush government was another carefully guarded secret. Only the incumbent Mossad memune [“first among equals”] knew how long Mega had been in place.
The committee members did, however, know that the FBI’s counter-intelligence division finally believed that the lack of action against Mossad was due to the power of the Jewish lobby in Washington, and the reluctance of successive administrations to confront it. Once more the lobby could be called upon to dampen the firestorm building since Mega had first been discovered by the FBI. On February 16, 1997, the National Security Agency (NSA) had provided the FBI with an intercept of a late-night conversation from the Israeli embassy between a Mossad intelligence officer identified only as “Dov” and his superior in Tel Aviv whose name had not been revealed during the short conversation.
Dov had asked for ‘guidance’ as to whether he ‘should go to Mega’ for a copy of a letter written by Warren Christopher, then the secretary of state, to PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. The letter contained a set of assurances given to Arafat by Christopher on January 16 about the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank city of Hebron. Dov was instructed by the voice in Tel Aviv ‘to forget the letter. This is not something we use Mega for’.
The brief conversation had been the first clue the FBI had of the importance of Mega. The code name had not been heard before in its round-the-clock surveillance of the Israeli embassy and its diplomats. Using state-of-the-art computers, the FBI narrowed the urgent search for the identity of Mega to someone who either worked there or had access to a senior official employed by the National Security Council, the body that advises the president on intelligence and defense-related matters. Its office is in the White House, and its members include the vice-president and secretaries of state and defense. The director of Central Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serve in an advisory role. Th permanent staff is headed by the president’s national security adviser.
How the Israeli embassy had learned its secure communications channel with Tel Aviv had been breached still remained as closely guarded as the identity of Mega. Like all Israeli missions, the Washington embassy was constantly updated with more sophisticated systems for encryption and burst transmissions: a significant portion of this equipment has been adapted from stolen U.S. blueprints.
On February 27, 1997, a pleasant spring morning in Tel Aviv, the members of the Committee of the Heads of Services drove from their various offices around the city along the broad road called Rehov Shaul Hamaleku to a guarded gate in a high blank wall tipped with barbed wire. All that could be seen of what lay behind the wall were the roofs of buildings. Rising above them was a massive concrete tower visible all over Tel Aviv. At various heights were unsightly clusters of electronic antennae. The tower was the centerpiece of the headquarters of the Israel Defense forces. The complex is known as the Kirya, which simply means ‘place’.
At a little before 11:00 a.m., the intelligence chiefs used their swipe cards to access a building near the tower. Like most Israeli government offices, the conference room they entered was shabby.
The meeting was chaired by Danny Yatom, who had recently been appointed as Mossad’s latest chief by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yatom had a reputation as a hard-liner, very much in keeping with Netanyahu. The Tel Aviv rumor mills had it that they new Mossad chief had ‘baby-sat’ the embattled prime minister when Netanyahu’s colorful private life threatened his career. The men around the cedar-wood conference table listened attentively as Yatom outlined the strategy to be adopted should the ‘situation’ with Mega become a full-blown crisis.
Israel would deliver a strongly worded protest that its Washington embassy’s diplomatic status had been violated by the bugging–a move that would undoubtedly cause embarrassment to the Clinton administration. Next sayanim [sympathetic helpers] connected to the U.S. media should be instructed to plant stories that Mega was an incorrect decoding of the Hebrew slang Elga, which had long been Mossad-speak for the CIA. Further, the word Mega was part of one well-known to U.S. intelligence. Megawatt was a code name it had until recently used jointly with Mossad to describe shared intelligence. For good measure sayanim should add that another word, Kilowatt, was used for commonly shared terrorist data. But for the moment nothing would be done, Yatom concluded.
In March 1997, on receipt of information from Mossad’s ‘katsa’ [case officer] in Washington, Yatom took action. He sent a yahalomin team [special communications unit] to Washington to follow-up on the katsa’s report that President Clinton was repeatedly indulging in phone-sex calls with a former White House aide, Monica Lewinsky. He was making calls from the Oval Office to her apartment in the Watergate Complex. Knowing that the White House was totally protected by electronic counter-measures, the yahalomin team focused on Lewinsky’s apartment. They began to intercept explicit phone calls from the president to Lewinsky. The recordings were couriered by diplomatic bag to Tel Aviv.
On March 27, Clinton once more invited Lewinsky to the Oval Office and revealed he believed a foreign embassy was taping their conversations. He did not give her any more details, but shortly afterwords the affair ended.
In Tel Aviv, Mossad strategies pondered how to use the highly embarrassing taped conversations; they were the stuff of blackmail–though no one suggested any attempt should be made to blackmail th president of the United States. Some, however, saw the recordings as a potent weapon to be used if Israel found itself with its back to the wall in the Middle East and unable to count on Clinton’s support.
There was common consensus that the FBI must also be aware of the conversations between Clinton and Lewinsky. Some strategists urged Yatom to use ‘the back-door channel’ with Washington and let the FBI know Mossad was aware of the president’s phone calls it would be a not-very-subtle way of telling the agency to back off of their continuing hunt for Mega. Other analysts urged a wait-and-see policy, arguing that the information would remain explosive whenever it was released. That view prevailed.
In September 1998, the Starr report was published and Yatom had left office. The report contained a short reference to Clinton warning Lewinsky back in March 1997 that his phone was being bugged by a foreign embassy. Starr had not pursued the matter when Lewinsky had given her testimony before the grand jury about her affair with Clinton.However the FBI could only have seen the revelations as further evidence of their inability to unmask Mega.
Six months later, March 5th, 1999, the New York Post published in a cover story the revelations in the original edition of this book. The Post story began: ‘Israel blackmailed President Clinton with phone-tapped tapes of his steamy sex talks with Monica Lewinsky, a blockbuster new book charges. The price Clinton paid for the silence of the Mossad spy agency was calling off an FBI hunt for a top-level Israeli mole’
Within hours of this complete distortion of the facts in the book (which I had carefully checked with sources in Israel), the Post’s version had appeared in thousands of newspapers around the world.
The essential point of my story, that the public prosecutor Kenneth Starr had not fully pursued his impeachment investigation into Clinton, was lost. Starr had noted in his report that on March 29, 1997: ‘He, [Clinton] told her [Lewinsky] that he suspected that a foreign embassy [he did not specify which one] was taping his telephone calls. If anyone ever asked about their phone sex, she should say that they knew their calls were being monitored all day long, and the phone sex was a put-on’.
The president’s words most strongly indicated that he was aware that he had become a target for blackmail. By talking to Lewinsky over a public phone network–there is no evidence he had attempted to secure the phone in her apartment–the president had indeed left himself open to interception by foreign eavesdroppers and, even more so, the powerful microwave vacuum cleaners of the National Security Agency. Given that any incumbent president routinely gets NSA reports, he would also have known that his calls to Monica could well end up on the Washington rumor mills.
A sense of the panic my revelations created in the White House can be seen from its briefing to correspondents by Oval Office spokesmen Barry Toiv and David Leavey. There is a shifting-sands feeling about their responses that the official White House transcript has detained:
QUESTION: Why did the president reportedly tell Monica Lewinsky that he was concerned about his phone conversations being taped?
TOIV: Well as you know, other than the president’s testimony in this case, we really haven’t commented on specifics, on other specifics like that and we’re not going to start now.
QUESTION: When the president heard about this, was he shicked by it? What was his reaction Mr. Toiv?
TOIV: To be honest, I haven’t gotten the president’s reaction to the book.
QUESTION: Well, why did he say that to Monica Lewinsky? Why did he warn her?
TOIV: I’ve already not answered that question (Laughter).I’m sorry.
QUESTION: I know you’ve not answered it, but it’s very valid, really.
TOIV: Well, again, we’re not going to get into commenting on specifics beyond what the president has already testified to.
QUESTION: I don’t understand why you think it’s legitimate for you not to comment on the president of the United States supposedly saying that he thinks a foreign government is taping his conversations. For you just to say, no comment.
TOIV: There have been questions about all sorts of comments that have been made or testified to and we have not gone beyond the president’s testimony in discussing these and we’re not going to do that.
QUESTION: That’s because you’ve said its unseemly and its about sex. This is about the national security of the United States and the president supposedly saying that a foreign government is taping his conversations. And you’re just going to say sorry, no comment?
TOIV: I am not going to go beyond what he has already testified to.
QUESTION: You’re not denying it. You’re not denying it.
LEAVEY: Obviously, we’re not aware of a mole at the White House. But it’s the long-standing practice for people who speak at this podium to refer calls to the appropriate authorities who undertake these types of investigations.
QUESTION: Was there any attempt by the president to intervene in any kind of investigation or search for mole?
LEAVEY: No. There is no basis in that allegation whatsoever.
QUESTION: Well, there is a basis for it. There is a sworn testimony that Lewinsky gave that attributes to the president a comment that a foreign embassy was taping–
LEAVEY: And Barry just answered that question.
QUESTION: His answer was that he is not going to comment on it. That’s not much of an answer. With all due respect.
LEAVEY: Let me say two things–noted.
TOIV: I wouldn’t go beyond my comments.
LEAVEY: Yes, I’m definitely not going to add to Barry’s comments. But let me say this. We take all the precautions to secure the president’s communications. There is absolutely no basis for the allegation in the book.
QUESTION: Are you getting that from CIA or FBI, or are you getting out of just an automatic reflex?
LEAVEY: You can take that as authoritative.
QUESTION: I understand that you would have his communications secure. However, if he picks up the phone and calls some ordinary citizen at 2:20 a.m. in the morning at their apartment, what’s to say that that person’s phone couldn’t be tapped? Does you security system prevent that?
LEAVEY: There is some serious allegations in the book, and what I am sayng is that there is absolutely no basis for the allegation. So I have to leave it at that.
Not one serious newspaper made any attempt to follow-up on those revealing responses.
It turned out that Mossad was not the only organization that had taped the sex phone calls. The Republican senator for Arizona, Jon Kyl, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, told his local newspaper The Arizona Republic that, ‘a U.S. intelligence agency may have taped telephone conversations between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. There are different agencies in the government that make it their business to tape certain things for certain reasons, and it was one of those agencies.’
Kyl refused to identify to the newspaper who the agency or agencies were: ‘That’s something I absolutely can’t get into in any greater detail.’ Of his sources he said, ‘By virtue of who they are, they have credibility. You can assume that they are people who at some period in time have been in the employ of the federal government.’ He went on to compare the existence of the tapes to the ‘smoking-gun’ evidence in the Watergate scandal.
These explosive allegations from a respected politician were never pursued into the public domain.
According to at least one well-placed Israeli source, Rafi Eitan had received a phone call from Yatom reinforcing the need to stay well clear of the United States for the foreseeable future.
Rafi Eitan did not need to be told how ironic it would be if he fell victim to the very technique that had made him a legend–the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann. Even worse would be to be quietly killed by one of the methods that had burnished his reputation among men who saw assassination as part of the job.
(Gordon Thomas pages 100-107)
At fifty-one years of age, there was something unstoppable about Danny Yatom; tireless and ruthless, he had the chutzpah of a street fighter. That was typified by his response to the discovery by the FBI in January 1997 of Mega–the high-level Mossad deep-penetration agent within the Clinton administration. He had told the Committee of the Heads of Services, whose role included preparing a fallback position in thee event of an operational failure, all that needed to be done was to make sure that the powerful Jewish lobby in the United States countered demands from Arab organizations that the hunt for Mega must be pursued as vigorously as the FBI dealt with spies from other countries. Jewish dinner guests at the White House dinner table–Hollywood stars, attorneys, editors–all lost no opportunity to remind the president of the danger of an ill-conceived manhunt would produce–even more if one of his own staff was arrested. In a presidency already besieged by scandal, that could be an opening that could finally destroy Clinton. Six months later, on July 4, 1997, Independence Day in the United States, Yatom learned that the FBI had quietly downgraded its hunt for Mega. (pp 327-328)
These [files and archives] included psycho-profiles of world leaders, terrorists, politicians, leading financiers–anyone who could be a help or hindrance to Israel. A typical profile contained personal details and close relationships. The one on President Bill Clinton listed many transcripts from the yaholomin surveillance of his conversations with Monica Lewinsky, some verging on phone-sex calls (see chapter 5, ‘Gideon’s Nuclear Sword’, pp. 103-5). The profile of Hillary Clinton contained a close analysis of her contact with Vince Foster, the Clinton White House deputy counsel. Mossad concluded that Foster did not commit suicide but, according to one Mossad officer who had read the file, ‘ most likely was murdered to cover-up what was a serious attempt by persons in the Clinton White House to keep secret material they would have preferred to keep quiet’ (the author was told) (p. 443)
MEGA WAS/IS LIKE FTD FLOWERS “THE ‘GIFT’ THAT KEEPS ON GIVING”:
Once more the specter that had haunted Dagan’s predecessors had surfaced. The FBI had reopened its investigation to try and establish the identity of Mega, Mossad’s deep-penetration agent high-level spy in Washington. He had originally been identified as working within the Clinton administration. But the FBI now believed he had successfully managed to conceal himself to secure a place in the Bush presidency. Like his predecessors, Dagan was probably the only spy chief in Israel who knew the true identity of his prized informer (see chapter 5, ‘Gideon’s Nuclear Sword’ pp. 100-02)
In the after math of George Bush being returned to the White House for another four-year term, FBI director Robert Mueller had briefed National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice–soon to become secretary of state–that Mega was the conduit for how highly sensitive policy documents on Iran had been passed to Israel. Mueller had told Rice that Mega would now be more important than ever for Israel as Bush began to formulate his policy toward the Middle East.
The FBI had already spent more than a year covertly investigating, using the latest electronic surveillance equipment, [and] a Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, who was a senior analyst at the Pentagon office dealing with Middle East affairs. Franklin formerly worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The Defense Department had confirmed the investigation, adding that Franklin worked in the office of defense undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, an individual aide to defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The FBI had publicly said their investigation centered on whether Franklin passed classified U.S. material on Iran to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. The AIPAC is a highly influential Israeli lobby in Washington. Like Franklin, it had been swift to deny ‘any criminal conduct’. In Israel, Ariel Sharon had taken the unusual step of issuing a similarly worded statement insisting ‘Israel does not engage in intelligence activities in the United States.’
Meir Dagan knew better. The United States had remained a prime target for Mossad operations after the 1985 conviction of navy analyst Jonathan Pollard on charges of passing secrets to Israel.
The FBI now believed Mossad had been responsible for how America’s nuclear secrets, stored on computer drives, had been stolen from Los Alamos. The drives were each the size of a deck of playing cards and kept in the facility’s most secure, password-protected vault in X-Division, twenty feet below the Mexican mountains.
The theft was discovered after a massive forest fire threatened the area and scientists were ordered to enter the vault to remove the drives. But because of the intensity of the fire, Los Alamos was closed down for ten days, which meant a full-scale search for the drives was launched only after this period. The drives were designed to fit into laptop computers carried by members of the Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) on permanent readiness to fly to the scene of any nuclear accident within the United States. NEST squads wojld use the highly detailed technical information on the drives to disarm and dismantle nuclear devices. The drives had been checked as all-present in an inventory taken in April 2002.
When the FBI finally arrived on the scene, in May that year, their first suspicion was that a terrorist group had carried out the theft. But the, three months later, they discounted this when the drives were found behind a photocopier in another Los Alamos laboratoy. In a report to Bill Richardson, the then secretary of energy responsible for the lab, and its security chief, Eugene Habinger, the FBI concluded the theft was the work of a highly professional intelligence service ‘like Mossad’.
Now, three years later, the agency had not changed its view, Mueller told Condoleezza Rice. He also remained certain that somewhere within the Bush administration, Mega was securely entrenched. It was not a comfortable thought for the FBI director.” (pp. 453-54)
HELEN THOMAS ASKS OBAMA IF ANY COUNTRY IN MIDDLE EAST HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS--AVOIDANCE & NO ANSWER–MEGA STILL IN PLACE?
ISRAEL BLACKMAILED BILL WITH MONICA TAPES; SPY HUNT ENDED AFTER MOSSAD BUGGED PREZ SEX CHATS: BOOK – EXCLUSIVE
Posted: 12:00 AM, March 3, 1999
ISRAEL blackmailed President Clinton with phone-tapped tapes of his steamy sex talks with Monica Lewinsky, a blockbuster new book charges.
The price Clinton paid for the silence of the Mossad spy agency was calling off an FBI hunt for a top-level Israeli mole allegedly installed at the White House.
The allegation appears in “Gideon’s Spies – The Secret History of the Mossad,” written by respected author Gordon Thomas and due out next week.
Asked for comment, White House spokesman P.J. Crowley replied, “The only thing I can possibly say is we’ll skip the book and wait for the movie.”
Israel has denied conducting spying operations in the United States.
But hints about the Mossad connection to Sexgate surfaced in evidence given to independent counsel Kenneth Starr last year.
Lewinsky testified under oath that after a session of heavy petting and oral sex in the White House, Clinton told her that a foreign embassy was tapping the two phone lines in her D.C. apartment.
She said Clinton advised her that if she was questioned about their phone-sex sessions she should claim that they knew their calls were being bugged – and were joking to make the phone-tappers look silly.
Starr did not pursue the matter, as far as the public record shows, and Lewinsky apparently accepted Clinton’s story without asking for details.
But author Thomas says Danny Yatom, Mossad inspector general, succeeded in tapping Lewinsky’s phone and amassed some 30 hours of sexually explicit conversations between the president and Lewinsky.
Thomas says Tel Aviv used the tapes to stop the probe of an operative code-named “MEGA,” who was, and could still be, deep within the White House.
“So far as anyone knows, the Israeli agent MEGA – a much more important spy than the imprisoned CIA traitor Jonathan Pollard, and probably his controller – is still in place at the White House,” Thomas said last night from London.
“There was a flurry of high-profile counterintelligence activity which lasted as long as the bioleverage” – that is, blackmail – “took to work.”
His book – which coincidentally is published by St. Martin’s Press, like Andrew Morton’s “Monica’s Story” – claims the decision to use the Lewinsky tapes reaches high levels in Israel.
Israel’s Committee for Central Intelligence, meeting in emergency session, decided to play dirty by exploiting Monica’s steamy chats as a way of protecting their White House “asset,” Thomas said.
“FBI counterintelligence, which had also been taping Monica’s calls, got the message and decided to go back off,” the Welsh-born author claims.
Verifying Thomas’ account is difficult because spy agencies almost never comment on their activities or anything anyone writes about them.
It’s been reported that the Justice Department and FBI launched an investigation last year for a suspected mole, code-named “MEGA,” based on undisclosed evidence that an Israeli spy had penetrated the White House.
Israel heatedly denied a mole existed, saying it had ended such spying with the arrest of Pollard more than a decade ago.
Officials in Jerusalem said MEGA was the code name for a U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing arrangement to fight terrorism.
In any event, nothing has been heard of the U.S. pursuit of MEGA in a year.
The alleged Mossad connection adds a new dimension to Sexgate – and could even support Hillary Clinton’s charge that a “vast, right-wing conspiracy” was out to destroy her husband’s presidency.
Asked about that, Thomas replied: “That’s not for me to say.
“I can only report the facts as I found them. What you make of the facts is up to you. What Monica makes of them is up to her.”