Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Israeli intelligence active in Nevada

From the Nevada Test Site to the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) bases at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases in Nevada, and even into the above top secret Tonopah and Groom Lake (Area 51) test sites, Israeli intelligence has been engaged in a full-court press, mostly targeting Department of Energy, Air Force, and contractor personnel.

Some of the Israeli intelligence presence at Nellis and Creech is semi-official, with a number of contractor personnel having past associations with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Israeli state-owned firm that manufactured the Hunter UAV used by the U.S. Army in the Kosovo war. WMR has learned that IAI contractors and officials have been present at Nellis and Creech Lake, the latter formerly known as the Indian Springs Auxiliary Air Field. The prime contractor for the Predator and Reaper UAVs, which are operated from Nellis and trained on by Air Force personnel at Creech, is General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a major competitor of IAI that is also teamed on many contracts with Boeing.

In 2005, Moshe Keret, IAI's chief executive officer, was detained by the Israeli fraud investigation unit in an investigation of a kickback arrangement between IAI corporate managers and IAI's foreign agents. The investigation of Keret was dropped in 2007. Elta Electronics Industries in Ashdod, Israel also played a part in the corruption investigation. IAI was also suspected by U.S. intelligence of transferring sensitive technology to China.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories continues to maintain a presence at the Nevada Test Site. On October 19, 2009, a one-time scientist for Lawrence Livermore, Dr. Stewart David Nozette of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was arrested by the FBI for volunteering to pass classified U.S. defense secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli Mossad agent. Significantly, Nozette, who also worked for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory NRL), the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was an "outside consultant" for IAI. Nozette also worked for the George H. W. Bush White House. Nozette held a high-level "Q" security clearance -- which grants access to sensitive U.S. nuclear secrets -- while working for Lawrence Livermore and the Energy Department. The would-be Israeli spy also attempted to pass information on U.S. intelligence satellites.

Nozette also worked for the U.S. Air Force's Phillips Laboratory in Alexandria, Virginia and was considered as expert on the Strategic Defense Initiative or "Star Wars." In 2006, a non-profit organization run by Nozette, the Alliance for Competitive Technology, came under a federal investigation for making false expense claims for work performed for NASA under contract. The non-profit had also done work for DARPA and NRL and similar suspected fraudulent expense claims arose. Nozette had written checks on his non-profit business bank account for three different mortgages, pool cleaning, a Mercedes Benz, and membership dues for the LaJolla, California Tennis Club.

In January 2009, Nozette reportedly flew to an "unnamed" country, not Israel, with two computer thumb drives. He returned to the United States without the drives and immediately became suspect by U.S. counter-intelligence agents. In the past, Nozette had expressed a desire to move to Israel and tell the Israelis about his classified work for the Pentagon and Energy Department.

Adding to the Israeli intelligence and military presence in the Nellis-Nevada Test Site complex is the presence of yet another mall kiosk near Nellis that employs aggressive Israelis who try to hawk "Dead Sea" skin care products to passers-by, many of whom are active duty Air Force personnel at Nellis and Creech and civilian employees and contractors at the Nevada Test Site and Area 51. The kiosk is located on the Las Vegas Boulevard side of the Fashion Show Mall in downtown Las Vegas. In the past, U.S. counter-intelligence agencies have identified these Israeli-operated mall kiosks as intelligence fronts and WMR has reported on their activities in Columbia, Maryland, near the National Security Agency, and the MacArthur Center Mall in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, near the U.S. Naval Base.