QUESTION: In Israel, the newspaper, Haaretz, reports that every political party in the Knesset denounced the manifestations of Palestinian joy following last week's terror attacks on the United States, except the Israel-Arab parties, who also refused
to sign the Knesset's letter of sympathy to the American people. And my question, surely after last night's unforgettable and specific, very specific Presidential address, the White House is not going to evade comment on these Israeli-Arabs, are you Ari?
MR. FLEISCHER: I took that question when you asked me a question two days
ago about anyone around the world, including the Palestinians, who would rejoice at the loss of American life. And I said at the time,
that the United States condemns it. Patriot Resources
5 Israelis detained for `puzzling behavior' after WTC tragedy
Five Israelis who had worked for a moving company based in New Jersey are being held in U.S. prisons for what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has described as "puzzling behavior" following the terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York last Tuesday.[...] They are said
to have had been caught videotaping the disaster and shouting in what was interpreted as cries of joy and mockery. Ha'Aretz,
September 17, 2001
In New Jersey, where officials believe that the hijackers received assistance from accomplice, Sherri
Evanina, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Newark, said that five men were detained late Tuesday after the van in which they were driving was stopped on Route 3 in East Rutherford.
She said witnesses had reported seeing the men celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center earlier in the day in Union City. "They were seen leaving the location after they were celebrating,"
Agent Evanina said. "They were watching the entire event from their location."
Angry witnesses reported the men's license plate to the authorities. The plate was registered to Urban Moving Systems, a truck-rental company
based in Weehawken, N.J., Ms. Evanina said.
The five men were detained on administrative grounds by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, officials said. No criminal charges have been
filed against them.
Dominik Suter, the owner of Urban Moving Systems, did not return several telephone messages left at
his office. A woman who answered the telephone at the company's offices, but would not give her name, said, "We have no comment." She would not give her name."
York Times, September 14, 2001
Investigators say that "There are maps of the city in the car with certain places highlighted...
It looked like they're hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was going to happen."
Record, September 12, 2001
One of these Israelis later says, "Our purpose was to document the event."
ABC news, June 21, 2002
September 29-30, 2001: Police in the Midwest stop six men containing
suspicious documents, and then release them. They possess photos and descriptions of a nuclear power plant in Florida and the Trans-Alaska pipeline, and also have "box cutters and other equipment." All six also have
Israeli passports. They are let go after their passports are shown to be valid, but before anyone interviews them. The FBI is reportedly furious about their release. [Miami Herald, 10/3/01, Knight Ridder, 10/31/01,
London Times, 11/2/01] Again, it appears they may have been Mossad agents. Miami
Herald03/10/2001 Knight Ridder31/10/2001 LondonTimes02/11/2001
October 16, 2001: A Philadelphia newspaper later reports that two men are arrested on this day, after being found with a detailed video of the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Their names are identified as Moshe Elmakias and Ron Katar. In addition, a woman named Ayelet Reisler is found with them, who has conflicting identification information. They were arrested for illegal dumping, using a van with
the name Moving Systems Incorporated. Given the moving van element, and the typically Jewish names, it is likely these three are part of the Israeli spy ring. The video contains extensive zoom in shots of the Sears
Tower. Philadelphia Mercury
November 23, 2001: The Washington Post reports, "At
least 60 young Israeli Jews have been arrested and detained around the country on immigration charges since the Sept. 11 attacks, many of them held on US government officials' invocation of national security."
An INS official who requested anonymity says the use of the term "special interest" for Israelis being held in Cleveland, St. Louis and other places means the case in question is "related
to the investigation of September 11th." Washington Post, November 23, 2001
December 12, 2001: Fox News publishes a remarkable report about the Israeli "art student" spy ring.[...]
When a governmental source is asked if the Israeli spies knew about the
9/11 attacks before they happened, he responds "The principal question is 'how could they have not known?'" "Investigators
within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered career suicide." A highly placed investigator says there are 'tie-ins' between the spy
ring and 9/11. But when asked for details, he flatly refuses to describe them, saying, "evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence
that has been gathered. It's classified information." Fox, December 12, 2001
December 16, 2001: The Fox News report on the "art student" spy ring is taken down only two days after being put up, in response to pressure from
the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and others. CAMERA for
instance, suggests the reporter "has something, personally, about Israel... Maybe he's very sympathetic to the Arab side." Yet there doesn't appear to be any substance to these
personal attacks. The story continues to be mostly ignored by the mainstream media, but
the Fox story makes a big impact inside the US government. For instance, an internal DEA communiqué from Dec. 18 mentions the Fox report by name, and warns of security breaches in telecommunications
as described in the Fox report. Salon, May 07, 2002
March 6, 2002: The Washington Post runs a story completely denying the existence of any Israeli spy ring. It opens with official denials from a "wide array of US officials" and quotes Justice
Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden as saying, "This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread
reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage." [Washington Post, 3/6/02] The New York Times fails to cover the story at all, even months later. [Salon, 5/7/02] By mid-March, Jane's, the respected British
intelligence and military analysis service, notes: "It is rather strange that the US media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks
-- the alleged breakup of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA. Jane's Intelligence Digest
March 11, 2002: A newspaper reports that the DEA study on Israeli "art students" determined the "students"
all had "recently served in the Israeli military, the majority in intelligence, electronic signal intercept or explosive ordnance units."
Palm Beach Post, November 3, 2001
Spies, or students?
Were the Israelis just trying to sell their paintings, or agents in a massive espionage ring? Ha'Aretz,
May 14, 2002
Spy Rumors Fly on Gusts of Truth
Americans Probing Reports of Israeli Espionage
Despite angry denials by Israel and its American supporters, reports that Israel was conducting spying activities in the United States may have a grain of truth, the Forward has learned.[...]
According to one former high-ranking American intelligence official, who asked not to be named, the FBI came to the conclusion at the end of its investigation that the five Israelis arrested in New Jersey
last September (Sivan and Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari and Yaron Shmuel) were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems
of Weehawken, N.J., served as a front.[...]
In addition to their strange behavior and their Middle Eastern looks, the suspicions were compounded when a
box cutter and ,000 in cash were found in the van. Moreover, one man carried two passports
and another had fresh pictures of the men standing with the smoldering wreckage of the World Trade Center in the background.[...]
On December 7, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state could
seize the goods remaining inside the warehouse. The state also has a lawsuit pending against Urban Moving Systems and its owner, Dominik Otto Suter,
an Israeli citizen. The FBI questioned Mr. Suter once. However, he left the country afterward and went back to Israel before further questioning. Mr. Suter declined through his lawyer to be interviewed for this article.[...]
Charlene Eban, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Washington, and Don Nelson, a Justice Department spokesman, said they had no knowledge of an Israeli spying operation.
"If we found evidence of unauthorized intelligence operations, that would be classified material," added Jim Margolin, a spokesman for the FBI in New York. Forward,
February, 2002Dominik Suter of Mossad on an FBI
List of September 11 Suspects (pdf)