When Israeli Sergeant Oron Shaul was captured by Hamas terrorists in the thick of this past summer’s Operation Protective Sheild, the Palestinian terror organization used the sergeant’s Facebook page to broadcast their sick achievement to his family and friends. It should have been easy for the IDF to electronically trace the gloating terrorists, but it wasn’t. Why not? Apparently the U.S. attorney general got in the way.
Israel issued a request for Facebook to turn over IP address information, and the Justice Department got to work. In the meantime, the FBI got the bureaucratic wheels rolling with the U.S. Attorney’s office in what should have been a cut and dry procedure that, in a few short hours, was inexplicably shut down. The Jewish Press reports:
Suddenly, and to the shock of the prosecutors working feverishly to obtain the information that possibly could reveal where Shaul (or his body) was being held, a shocking email arrived from the FBI. An email that spelled a death sentence for what many believed to be the best chance of finding Shaul and his kidnappers.
Thank you for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process.We were told by our management we need a MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty] in order to continue to assist our partner with the request in question.
The MLAT requires a standardized process to wind its way through legal and diplomatic protocols and usually take weeks to process. They are used, [Steve] Emerson explained, for non-pressing legal matters in which the United States or another country is carrying out some legal process, such as a prosecution of a citizen in another country. They are not used in urgent, life-or-death or counter-terrorism scenarios, “especially with a close ally such as Israel,” Emerson was told.
…Three days after the stand down email was sent, the IDF concluded that Oron Shaul was dead. His body has never been recovered. Hamas is interested in using whatever parts of Shaul’s body they claim to have to swap for terrorist prisoners held by Israel.
According to Emerson’s investigation, those involved in the legal procedures in the U.S. believe the stop order was given by the attorney general’s office.
Add this to the list of reasons why Eric Holder stepped down just in time. It may also be on the list of reasons why Israel is choosing to wean itself from its strong dependency on American military aid.
The Obama administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items – and not just Hellfire missiles as previously reported – for a short time in the middle of the war against Hamas, reported Israel Defense’s Amir Rappaport, the well-informed and highly credibly editor of the website.
Makor Rishon added to that report that the US actually cut off all communications with Israel’s Ministry of Defense purchasing offices in the US for days.
Post-war analysis has caused Israel to re-think their relationship with a White House that can’t be bothered to respond in a crisis:
The Defense Ministry, now realizing it cannot always depend on the Obama administration in a time of crisis, already has decided under a “veil of secrecy,” according to Israel Defense, to manufacture a highly sensitive weapon in Israel instead of buying it from the United States.
The change in policy is a major step that would wean Israel away from dependence on the United States and which also would be a significant change in the policy of buying American-made weapons with most financial assistance from the United States.
…Rappaport wrote that the “order to stop the processing of all Israeli requests came from a senior echelon – probably the White House, among other reasons, because Israel had ignored the initiatives of Secretary of State John Kerry and preferred to end the operation through a direct channel with the Egyptian.”
Both the Nixon and Reagan administrations froze military aid to Israel during wartime. Yet, this is the first time Israel has publicly declared their decision to shift manufacturing responsibilities in-house, making this a move that signals Israel’s severe distrust specifically of the Obama administration.