The late John Hadden, who served as the head of the CIA station in Israel in the 60s, revealed to me in an interview about a decade ago that he dedicated a considerable part of his time to trying to ascertain whether Israel was attempting to build a nuclear bomb.
He told me that Israel’s Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Shlomo Gazit summoned him to rebuke him for the fact that he, Hadden, was spying on the State of Israel, telling him that he shouldn’t think the Shin Bet hadn’t noticed. “Our basic assumption was that in every movement we made outside the embassy building, your Shin Bet was sitting on our tails,” Hadden told me. “They were very professional and took great pains not to be discovered.”
Hadden’s son, John Junior, is about to release his book “Conversations with a Masked Man” next month. In this book (and also in a conversation with Israeli nuclear researcher Prof. Avner Cohen), John Jr. tells of how his father used to take him and the rest of the family for a “picnic” in southern Israel, where they would collect dirt samples from different spots as part of a “game to get to know the area” that his father invented. Except that it was all a cover story: The samples were sent to the United States and analyzed by American nuclear experts. Hadden and his people were detained by the Israeli police several times over these spy games.