Officials in Jerusalem are denying allegations that a Pentagon employee was leaking secret information to them about White House deliberations on Iran. U-S authorities say they may make an arrest in the case next week.
However, Israeli officials say they remember too well the tensions created nearly 20 years ago when a U-S Navy analyst was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for passing secrets on to Israel.
A top Israeli legislator says since then the country's policy has been to never spy against the U-S government or its subsidiaries.
Still, Israel says it is very concerned about Iran's nuclear program, reports Boston Herald.
No arrests have been made, said two federal law enforcement officials, speaking to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. A third law enforcement official, also speaking anonymously, said an arrest in the case could come as early as next week.
Two of those officials raised the possibility the government might not bring espionage charges, but rather lesser ones that could include the mishandling of sensitive government material.
The officials refused to identify the Pentagon employee under investigation but said the person is an analyst in the office of Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.
The allegations threaten to create tensions between Israel and its closest ally at a sensitive time. After four years of fighting with the Palestinians, Israel faces growing international isolation and can ill afford a confrontation with Washington, says CBS News.
Sharon has frequently highlighted his warm relations with President Bush and has visited the White House nine times since taking office. A senior Sharon aide meets often with U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
But the case of Pollard, an American Jew granted Israeli citizenship in 1995, eight years after he began serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel, is still an irritant in relations between the two countries, informs Reuters.
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