Does it get any murkier than this? The conspirosphere is abuzz with claims aired in Foreign Policy magazine Jan. 13 that Mossad agents recruited militants from the Iranian terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as CIA agents in a "false flag" operation. Iran's Press TV and Pakistan's The Nation as well as stateside conspiranoids like Prison Planet and Antiwar.com have jumped all over it. But, predictably, the actual original report is fuzzy on the details and raises more questions than it answers. Here's the salient passage:
Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives—what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.
The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah—a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.
But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.
The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's effort.
Outraged quotes from conveniently anonymous officials follow. OK, how many ways is this whole thing suspect? Let's see. 1. The "archives" of "intelligence agencies" are invoked, but we aren't told what archives of what agencies. We aren't even told what agency the two "intelligence officials" are from. 2. Why would Jundallah be any more likely to accept aid from the US than Israel? One would think they hate both equally. What was to be gained by the subterfuge? 3. What was to be gained at all, for that matter? The militants were "recruited" for what? Jundallah appear to be sufficiently motivated on their own. Their cannon fodder are made up of ethnic Baluchs who are Sunni Muslims—doubly oppressed by ethnic discrimination and religious persecution in Shi'ite-dominated Iran. Why would Israeli agents have to "recruit" them? 4. The writer has evidently not seen the supposed memos, but is relying on descriptions from the two anonymous "sources." So the reader is getting it third-hand, and nothing can be independently corroborated.
The ever-growing legions who are obsessed by such arcana never seem to notice that they could be the ones who are being played for fools. Maybe Mark Perry, the writer of this frustratingly vague and illogical account, is himself a conduit (witting or un) for disinformation. Maybe the CIA is backing Jundallah and, afraid that this relationship was about to be exposed, made up this memo story to scapegoat Mossad. We certainly don't claim to know this, but it doesn't strike us as any less likely than the version that Perry and his echo chamber have spun...