WASHINGTON (Oct. 30)
A Congressional report has cleared the American and Israeli intelligence services of any illegal activity in connection with former UN Ambassador Andrew Young’s secret meeting last July 26 with Zehdi Labib Terzi the Palestine Liberation Organization representative at the UN, in the residence of the Kuwaiti Ambassador, Abdula Yaccouv Bishara.
The report, prepared by Rep. Les Aspin (D. Wisc.), chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee, also asserted that Young, then the chief U.S. representative to the UN, had mistaken a report that he had seen at the State Department as being related to his meeting with Terzi.
According to the Congressional report, the detailed account Young had seen was that of his luncheon the same day at which the groundwork was laid for his meeting with Terzi. Young had met at lunch with Bishara and Homoud’el-Chufi, the Syrian representative at the UN, and that night he found Terzi at Bishara’s residence and discussed the possibility of postponing an imminent UN debate on the Palestinian issue.
NO EVIDENCE FOUND
The Congressional report was based on Aspin’s interviews with about 15 officials from the CIA,
At the time that Young resigned last Aug. 15 after giving State Department colleagues a misleading version of his meeting with Terzi, both the U.S. and particularly the Israeli intelligence were severely castigated in the American media and some demanded the expulsion of Israeli agents for alleged illegal activities.
The Carter Administration absolved the American Jewish community, which also was accused by some in the media of complicity, of any participation in the Young affair but withheld full clearance of Israeli officials for many weeks while Black-Jewish tensions rose in the U.S.
The report made public by Aspin concluded “that the Israelis knew something was up seemed pretty certain but I think that what they knew was less than complete and that it, therefore, warranted only the effort to smoke out mo? by way of a leak to Newsweek. It seems much more likely to U.S, in fact, that the first full account Israel had of Mr. Young’s meeting with the PLO came from Mr. Young’s meeting with Ambassador (Yehuda) Blum,” the Israeli envoy to the UN.
The leak to Newsweek magazine simply stated that Young had met with Terzi in violation of the U.S. commitment not to deal with the PLO until the PLO met certain conditions.
THREE REASONS CITED
In the report. Aspin gave three reasons why Israel is “unlikely” to have been involved in the Young-Terzi meeting. He said:
“Those who know the ins and outs of the (intelligence) deal have told me without legal sanctions it is difficult to establish wire taps; the right locations must be found and so on. This is no absolute barrier but any Israeli agent would not have had legal sanction and consequently the task would be difficult not only in technical terms but because it might be accompanied by risks of disclosure which could be considered unacceptable.
“Second, if despite the technical problems, Israelis were wire tapping the scene of the Young PLO meeting (the residence of the kuwaiti Ambassador) that would have to mean that they were wire tapping pretty far down their list of priorities. The implications would have to be that Israel somehow has the means to cover not only the kuwaiti Ambassador’s residence but also a number of other, much more urgent locations and that Israel cannot only mount this kind of operation in numbers but in ways that escape either detection or accidental disclosure. I think that is unlikely.
“Third supposing the Israelis did install a wire tap and got a precise account of Mr. Young’s meeting with the PLO, they would surely have made more efficient use of their knowledge. With the full story in hand, if seems to me that Israel must probably would have gone directly to the top level of our government, privately, for a confrontation.”