Report: CIA Tried to Contact Hamas, Despite Official US Ban
JNS.org – Citing leaked spy cables obtained by Al Jazeera, The Guardian reported on Monday that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attempted to communicate with Hamas through back channels, despite a US government ban on contact with the Palestinian terrorist group.
According to the report, the CIA was “anxious to make inroads with Hamas, or recruit agents, inside the Gaza Strip.” A CIA agent reportedly discussed the possibility of gaining access to Hamas during a 2012 meeting in eastern Jerusalem with a South African intelligence agent.
A cable sent to Pretoria in June 2012 said the CIA “seems to be desperate to make inroads into Hamas in Gaza and possibly would like SSA (South African State Security Agency) to assist them in gaining access.”
The South African intelligence agent believed acceding to the CIA request would allow the SSA to understand US intelligence priorities. “If SSA was to link [the CIA officer] with Hamas, SSA stand the chance of benefitting from that interaction in that we would establish the collection priorities and requirements of LS829 (the South African code name for the CIA),” the cable said.
In response to the report, a CIA spokesperson said, “[The] CIA supports the overall US government effort to combat international terrorism by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence on foreign terrorist groups and individuals. [The] CIA conducts those intelligence activities in compliance with the United States constitution, federal statutes, and presidential directives.”