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Western Union Aided Assassins

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    FBI and Western Union helped Israel With targeted assassinations Information from U.S. companies helped Israel locate terror cells By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2006
      FBI and Western Union helped Israel With targeted assassinations
      Information from U.S. companies helped Israel locate terror cells

      By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

      06/30/06 "Haaretz" -- -- WASHINGTON - From the spring of 2003 until
      autumn 2004, the Shin Bet security service tracked down Palestinian
      terror cells in the West Bank thanks to information from the Western
      Union money transfer service, which was passed on by the FBI.

      This fact was disclosed in a book published this week about America's
      war on terror after September 11, 2001. In "The One Percent Doctrine,"
      author Ron Suskind connects the transfer of intelligence from the FBI
      to the Shin Bet with several targeted assassinations carried out by
      Israel during this period.

      Suskind, who is considered a reliable journalist, describes how major
      private companies cooperated with government agencies such as the FBI,
      the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Treasury to monitor
      communications and financial transfers after September 11, in
      operations of questionable legality.

      The FBI's most important connection during this period was with First
      Data, an Omaha-based electronic fund transfer company with a global
      reach. The company offered to assist the U.S. government in the war
      against terror.

      FBI Financial Crimes Section chief Dennis Lormel and his colleagues at
      other intelligence agencies eventually realized that the information
      supplied by the company could be used not only to locate and freeze
      the assets of terror groups, but also to track them in real time - in
      other words, to follow the money trail directly to the sources and
      destinations of the funds.

      First Data subsidiary Western Union, with branches throughout the Arab
      world and a high volume of money transfers, was in a perfect position
      to help. American intelligence agents and company officials cooperated
      in tracking the data trail and in monitoring security cameras
      installed in Western Union branches in order to see who was picking up
      the funds.

      According to the book, then Shin Bet head Avi Dichter, whom Suskind
      calls an agent of change in the U.S. war against terror, was briefed
      by Lormel on the new monitoring capabilities during one of his
      frequent visits to Washington.

      In April 2003, Dichter called Lormel to ask for the FBI's help in this
      regard. Dichter told officials that the Shin Bet had information about
      a courier who was expected to be bringing money to Israel from Lebanon
      shortly. The source of the money was known, but not the identity of
      the person for whom its was destined.

      In early April, 2003, an Islamic Jihad activist went to a Western
      Union office in Lebanon and ordered a money transfer to Hebron. The
      Justice Department authorized Western Union to release this
      information to the FBI and the CIA, and eventually to the Shin Bet.
      According to Suskind, all this took just minutes, enabling Israeli
      intelligence to track the person who collected the transfer in Hebron
      and to uncover the terror cell.

      According to the book, this method was used successfully many times
      over the next year and a half, until autumn 2004, when Palestinian
      operatives realized that their Western Union transfers were being used
      to trap them.

      Dichter told Haaretz on Wednesday that he has never spoken with Suskind.

      Intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has increased
      over the past several years, but until now, Israel's use of
      information from American companies had been kept secret.

      The Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives
      approved a bill last week aimed at further increasing intelligence
      ties with Israel and other countries by establishing a new office for
      international cooperation programs within the Department of Homeland

      This atmosphere of cooperation, Suskind states in his book, has
      reinforced the sense that President George Bush wants to assist Israel
      and was not disturbed by the military operations that Ariel Sharon's
      government authorized in the territories. Suskind quotes Bush as
      saying during his first National Security Council meeting that the
      U.S. must refrain from active mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian

      To then secretary of state Colin Powell's argument that such behavior
      could be interpreted by Sharon's government as a green light to apply
      force, Bush responded that sometimes a show of force can clarify the
      issue at hand.



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