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EXCLUSIVE: Israel’s national security aide barred from U.S.
Uzi Arad, who is expected to serve as national security adviser in the next Israeli government, has been barred from entering the United States for nearly two years on the grounds that he is an intelligence risk.
Mr. Arad, a former member and director of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s spy service, is mentioned in the indictment of Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst who pleaded guilty in 2005 to providing classified information about Iran in a conversation with two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Beyond Mr. Arad’s status, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to face difficulties abroad because of his choice, announced Monday, of Avigdor Lieberman to serve as foreign minister in a narrow new rightist government. Mr. Lieberman, head of the Israel Is Our Home party, has advocated requiring Israel’s 1.46 million Arabs to take a loyalty test or risk expulsion.
The choice of Mr. Arad for national security adviser has been reported in the Israeli press and was confirmed by sources close to Mr. Netanyahu, who has been tasked with forming the next government.
Mr. Arad acknowledged to The Washington Times that he has not been able to obtain a visa to come to the United States but said the Israeli government is trying to change that.
“The director general of the Israel Foreign Ministry did tell his American counterparts that there has been no cause to deny me a visa,” Mr. Arad told The Times.
Israeli and U.S. officials said Mr. Arad has been denied a U.S. visa since June 2007 under section 212 3(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This gives consular officers and the Justice Department authority to bar people who may seek “to violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or sabotage” from entering the country.
Mr. Arad was a member of the Mossad spy service from 1975 to 1997. After retiring, he became Mr. Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser. While in the Mossad, Mr. Arad worked mainly on analysis, but he also served as a liaison for intelligence operations with allied services such as the CIA.
In the past 21 months, prominent Israelis and Americans have quietly but unsuccessfully pressed U.S. officials to grant Mr. Arad a visa.
“Overtures were made, and, by and large, there was not a satisfactory answer,” said Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute, where Mr. Arad worked from 1972 to 1975 after obtaining a doctorate from Princeton University.
“He has invited luminaries from around the world to talk about foreign policy at the annual Herzliya conference,” Mr. London said. “There are people from the left and the right who recognize that he has extraordinary insight into the foreign policy issues of our time.”
In a June 18, 2007, letter to U.S. officials, the president of the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya, Uriel Reichman, wrote, “I very much hope that such visa will indeed be granted as expeditiously as possible since professor Arad’s travels to the United States are essential for his work at the Interdisciplinary Center.”
One mystery about Mr. Arad’s difficulties in obtaining a visa is that Mr. Franklin did not plead guilty to spying.
Indeed, the U.S. attorney handling the case against Mr. Franklin and two former AIPAC employees, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, charged all three men with mishandling national defense information, a count listed in the U.S. code under the Espionage Act but less serious than being an agent of a foreign power. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman are fighting the charges, which are controversial because they are the first private citizens to be accused of leaking classified information.
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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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