Top Israeli Security Official Says He Can’t Get a U.S. Visa

Mar 18, 2009 5:29pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: The man expected to be Israel’s national security adviser, Uzi Arad, says he can’t get a U.S. visa because he’s been erroneously tied to a Pentagon spy case involving former official Lawrence Franklin and two pro-Israel lobbyists. Franklin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for leaking classified documents. Today State Department acting spox Robert Wood refused to comment on the case, saying that visa records are "confidential under U.S. law, so I’m not able to discuss any particular case." Wood did not know if, as reported, Arad attended a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she met with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem earlier this month. In an interview with the Associated Press today, Arad admitted that he spoke to Franklin in 2004 but said it was a "superficial" discussion. "We had coffee and we talked about the agenda of the day — nothing classified, nothing secret, nothing related to espionage," Arad told The Associated Press. "If I was not a Mossad [Israeli intelligence] employee in the past, they would not have noticed me. My sin was that I was in the past in the Mossad. It’s not a big deal, and I believe that this issue will be resolved." He told the AP he was denied a U.S. visa two years ago but has not tried to get one since. There’s already been a flap over Netanyahu’s expected Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose ultra-nationalist party holds views on Middle East peace very much opposed to that of the Obama administration.

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