When the CIA Took a Palestinian Terrorist to Disneyland

In 1969, the Central Intelligence Agency decided it should cultivate a relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—then designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.—with the goal of wooing Yasir Arafat away from the Soviets. Arafat, writes Sean Durns, played along:

To facilitate this relationship, Arafat relied on Ali Hassan Salameh, the head of Force 17, his personal security force and counterintelligence unit. . . . A flamboyant womanizer, [Salameh] wore leather jackets, drank alcohol, and practiced karate. His father, Hassan Salameh, had been a famous Palestinian terrorist who took part in, among other acts, a failed Nazi plot to poison Tel Aviv’s water supply during World War II. . . . The CIA told Salameh that he “has friends in high places and so does his cause.”

Salameh even admitted to his handler, Robert Ames, that he had recruited a Paris theater-owner who had sent agents to blow up a hotel in Israel.

Neither this information, nor the PLO’s murder of two American diplomats in Khartoum in February 1973, dissuaded the CIA from maintaining the relationship. In fact, terrorism seemed to have had the opposite effect: in November of the same year, the Agency formalized its relationship with the PLO and, in 1976, then-CIA director George H.W. Bush invited Salameh to visit headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

During his January 1977 visit to Langley, a CIA operations officer named Alan Wolfe gave Salameh—whom Israelis held responsible for helping plan the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which eleven Israeli athletes were held hostage, tortured, and murdered—a leather shoulder holster for his gun. Perhaps most incredibly, at his request, the CIA subsequently took Salameh and his wife to Disneyland for their honeymoon, accompanying him on the rides and paying for the trip.

Salameh’s initial CIA contact, Robert Ames, would be murdered, along with 62 others, in an April 18, 1983 suicide car bombing at the U.S. embassy in Beirut. The attack was carried out by Shiite jihadists and reportedly planned by Imad Mughniyeh, formerly an operative of Salameh’s Force 17.

As for Salameh himself, the Mossad assassinated him in 1979. Another CIA officer sent his son a condolence letter.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: CIA, George H. W. Bush, Hizballah, Palestinian terror, PLO, Yasir Arafat


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security