Al-Jazeera to publish leaked Mossad cables

Documents said to include Israeli intelligence assessment that Iran not working to develop nuclear weapons

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo (third from left) takes part in the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2015. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky, Pool)
Mossad chief Tamir Pardo (third from left) takes part in the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2015. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky, Pool)

The Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network announced Monday that it will be publishing a series of leaked spy cables in the coming days that include the Mossad’s “true assessment” of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The documents, which were briefings and analyses by South Africa’s State Security Agency from 2006-2014, included correspondences with the CIA, MI6, Mossad, FSB, Iranian spy agency and several other Middle Eastern states. The files ranged from confidential to top-secret, according to al-Jazeera.

A selection of the leaked files, to be published by al-Jazeera in collaboration with the British Guardian newspaper, “offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicized realm of global espionage,” al-Jazeera said in a preview of the publication on its website.

The news channel said that only a selection of the leaked spy documents would be published, while others “have been saved for future broadcast — ones that needed further contextualization,” and that “hundreds will not be revealed.”

Among other items, the news channel said it would be publishing Mossad correspondences with its South African colleagues that showed its “true assessment of the Iranian nuclear program.” They were said to show that, contrary to statements by Israeli politicians that Iran was a year away from developing an atomic bomb, the Mossad didn’t believe Tehran was working to obtaining nuclear weapons.

Al-Jazeera gave no immediate indication of when the Mossad-related documents were created. The site later removed the bullet point mentioning the Mossad’s intelligence assessment.

The aforementioned Mossad report appeared to reinforce a New York Times report from 2012 that quoted a former senior US intelligence official as saying that Israel’s spy agency agreed with US assessments that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “hadn’t been restarted.”

“Their people ask very hard questions, but the Mossad does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” the anonymous official told The New York Times in March 2012. “There is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts.”

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