CAIRO Jeopardizing the already tense relationship between the United States and Pakistan, a new report revealed that Israel's Mossad agents posed as American CIA agents in their operations to recruit member of the Pakistani militant group Jundallah in London.
"It's amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with," a US intelligence officer told Foreign Policy Magazine on Friday, January 13.
"Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn't give a damn what we thought," said the official.
Using American dollars and US passports, the agents passed themselves off as members of the Central Intelligence Agency in the operations, notably in London, according to memos from 2007 and 2008.
According to the report, this information reached the CIA then Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center.
Making its way to the White House, former President George Bush "went absolutely ballistic" when briefed on its contents, according to the currently serving US intelligence officer.
"The report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was putting Americans at risk," the intelligence officer said.
"There's no question that the US has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."
Founded in 2002, Jundullah says it is fighting for the rights of the Sunni minority in Shiite-majority Iran.
Believed to have 1,000 fighters, the group is dedicated to defending the rights of Iran's two-million Baluchi minority.
Baluchis have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens and international human rights organizations say they are subject to economic and cultural discrimination.
Last July it claimed responsibility for attacking the Grand Mosque in the provincial capital Zahedan, reportedly targeting members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, killing 28 people.
The news infuriated American officials who felt that Israel false flag operations could endanger Americans lives.
"This certainly isn't the first time this has happened, though it's the worst case I've heard of," former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being informed of it.
"But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they're extremely dangerous. You're basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes.
Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not."
Reports about US covert support for Jundullah appeared in 2007 and 2008, including ABC News and a New Yorker articles.
The issue has now returned to the spotlight with the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and has outraged serving and retired intelligence officers who fear that Israeli operations are endangering American lives.
"There's no question that the US has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians," the intelligence officer said.
The Mossad activities were expected to further jeopardize the already tense relationship of the United States with Pakistan.
"This was stupid and dangerous," the intelligence official who first reported the operation to Foreign Policy magazine said.
"Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us.
If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they're supposed to be a strategic asset.