On Saturday night, The Associates Press published an article headlined "U.S. sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat." The article contains insinuation alongside stark accusations, and says, "Despite inarguable ties between the U.S. and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat."
The article lists convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and other Jewish Americans who have helped Israeli intelligence efforts and consequently have put "U.S. interests" at risk.
Also mentioned is the two countries' different approaches to tackling the Iranian nuclear program, including the possibility that their close ties could pose an obstacle for the U.S. in its interests in Muslim countries.
Within the Iranian context, the U.S. does not want to find itself caught off guard by an Israeli strike, which, according to the AP article, would put American oil supplies from the Middle East at risk and would endanger American soldiers in the region.
The article and the timing of its release raise questions, not in the least because it also touches on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Israel. Is the article's purpose to taint Israel? Is it part of ongoing efforts by certain elements in the U.S. intelligence community who oppose such close ties with Israel and have championed Pollard's continued incarceration?
Perhaps it is a veiled threat aimed at Jewish American voters ahead of the elections in November, that if the Israeli issue influences their vote they would be accused of being unpatriotic?
The strange reference to Romney's visit could be related to the fact that according to recent polls the Jewish vote could be a deciding factor in a number of key states, such as Florida and Ohio.
One could, of course, propose the opposite theory that there are elements in America's political and defense establishments who oppose the strong ties shared between Israel and this specific administration.
Either way, the article's timing raises serious questions, and we will wait to see whether the administration issues a clear refutation of its contents.