Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Saturday, January 08, 2005

US Ambassador Martin S. Indyk Security Clearance Suspended

AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #39-00 29 September 2000: "SECURITY CLEARANCE OF US AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL PULLED -- The State Department announced on 22 September that the department had suspended the clearances of US Ambassador Martin S. Indyk until it completes an investigation of "suspected violations of security standards." The suspension bars Indyk from handling classified materials, requires him to be escorted inside the State Department building, and presumably makes it difficult for him to play his role in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Department's decision to announce suspension of his clearances came after an anonymous call to the Senate Intelligence Committee reporting that State was going to ignore security violations by the ambassador.
According to the US press, investigators are focusing on "sloppy handling of classified information" and reportedly are looking into whether Indyk took classified materials home and improperly used an unclassified laptop for a classified briefing - - a by now familiar scenario. However, an internet report attributed to a Jerusalem source indicates that the situation may be more serious. The FBI is said to be focusing on allegations that the ambassador systematically handed over US classified material to persons in Israel unauthorized to receive them. It is alleged that a recent unusual trip by CIA Director George Tenet to Israel resulted in a report concluding that the ambassador had committed serious security violations.
The context for this affair is diplomatic, political and structural. It may impact on the Administration's race for a diplomatic triumph of some sort of agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It also could have implications for US electoral politics, but these are beyond the scope of this commentary. And lastly, it further impacts on the image and substance of the US intelligence and security structure. With leakages on all sides, the intelligence structure is obviously damaged by what has been described as a high-level environment of sustained and arrogant disdain for security for some years now, and may well be in serious danger unless the alert is sounded and the course reversed.
This may finally be underway in the State Department, as it is in Los Alamos. Security became a serious topic in the State Department after the publicity about the disappearance of a laptop computer containing top secret information, and after '98 and '99 State IG reports citing widespread failure in the Department to safeguard classified information. Thirty-two State Department employees had their security clearances revoked or suspended during the past eighteen months. The Indyk affair may well be another manifestation of this crackdown.
Indyk, 49, identified as a lobbyist for Jewish causes, with close ties to the Israeli Labor Party leadership, became a US citizen seven years ago, in January 1993, just in time to be sworn in as the senior Middle East specialist on the National Security Council (the center of the nation's national security secrets), at the start of President Clinton's administration. He was subsequently appointed Ambassador to Israel from April 1995 to October 1997, and was reappointed in 1999 at the request of Prime Minister Ehud Barak. (NY Times 23Sep00, p.A3 /C. Marquis // Wash Post 23Sep2000, p.A11 /S. Mufson;/// Israeli Web site/ Jerusalem DEBKA file: "The Indyk case -- a grave threat to the Gore campaign and US-Israel relations" 24Sep00 /// AP 25 Sep 2000) [B. Schweid]. (Jonkers)"


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