WASHINGTON, July 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy -- The FBI partially declassified and released files linking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a nuclear technology smuggling ring that targeted the United States. The declassified files are now publicly available online.
FBI agents interviewed indicted American smuggler Richard Kelly Smyth on April 16-17, 2002, at the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The secret interview report details how during trips to Israel Smyth's handler placed him in contact with Benjamin Netanyahu at Heli Trading Company. The FBI report suggests that "Smyth and [Netanyahu] would meet in restaurants in Tel Aviv and in [Netanyahu's] home and/or business. It was not uncommon for [Netanyahu] to ask Smyth for unclassified material."
Smyth was indicted in the mid-1980s for smuggling 800 dual use "krytrons" without proper export licenses through a multi-front company network. Smyth fled the U.S. and lived abroad, supported by unknown means, until he was captured by Interpol and returned to the U.S. in 2001. He was convicted in 2002.
During the 2002 Smyth counterintelligence debriefing, the FBI learned that the Israeli Ministry of Defense ordered and paid an Israeli company called Heli Trading for krytrons. Heli in turn sourced them from California-based MILCO in a clandestine operation codenamed "Project Pinto." The report reveals how MILCO illegally shipped other prohibited military articles under general Commerce Department export licenses rather than smuggling them out via Israeli diplomatic pouches.
Released on the Internet on July 4, 2012, the files have been the subject of reporting in the Israeli press, including Israeli National News, Ma'ariv and The Marker. Some U.S. alternative media also explored the implications of the formerly secret files including Antiwar.com, Tikkun Olam, Mondoweiss and CounterPunch. WBAI radio and the Scott Horton Show have hosted interviews.
Although the FBI report has now been sent to the New York Times, Washington Post, all members of Congress and United Nations members, no top-tier establishment news coverage, Congressional or UN investigations have been made public. On Friday, National Public Radio syndicated host Diane Rehm immediately disconnected IRmep Research Director Grant F. Smith when he asked her reporter roundtable to assess the implications of the Netanyahu espionage ring. An audio clip of the brief exchange is available.
IRmep is a private nonprofit that studies how warranted law enforcement and civil action can improve U.S. Middle East policy.