A report published on Monday by the New Yorker magazine is claiming that Israeli spies and surveillance equipment on the ground in Iran are the source of ongoing intelligence being passed on to the White House in an attempt to assess the nuclear capabilities of Iran.
The report reveals that the White House received information gathered by Israel inside Iran which indicates that Iran had developed and tested equipment used for nuclear weapons. Senior reporter Seymour Hersh, responsible for other top stories such as the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, broke the story.
The report, however, also shows internal conflicts between the CIA and the White House regarding such intelligence. According to the report, the CIA assessment that Iran is far from obtaining nuclear capabilities is largely backed by pure technical data from satellites and measurements of radioactive levels in the Iranian water supply and smoke plumes from factories and power plants. The White House, however, is claiming that the methods used by the CIA are insufficient.
The White House claims that additional data gathered by equipment reportedly set up by Israelis and Americans near suspected nuclear sites provides much more accurate information. Despite that, the data reportedly gathered by Israel does not show significant radiation levels near suspected nuclear sites. The report also says that the White House is refusing to share the raw information because the CIA wants detailed information on the sources of the data – something the White House refuses to disclose.
Hersh’s report also claims that in the past six months, Israel and the United States have been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group in northern Iraq known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan.
Hersh says he was informed by “a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon civilian leadership,” that group has been conducting clandestine cross-border missions into Iran, as “part of an effort to explore alternative means of applying pressure on Iran.” The government consultant told Hersh that Israel is giving the Kurdish group “equipment and training,” as well as “a list of targets inside Iran of interest to the U.S.”
An Israeli government spokesman denied Israeli involvement in training, operating, or supplying the Kurdish forces in Iraq, according to Hersh.