Spy cables reveal that the CIA attempted to interact with Hamas, despite U.S. government prohibitions on contact with the designated Palestinian terrorist organization, the Guardian reports.
The cables, obtained by the Al Jazeerah network, indicate that American intelligence was eager to establish connections with Hamas and recruit agents within the Gaza Strip. According to the leaked documents, a CIA officer and South African intelligence agent met in East Jerusalem during fighting between Hamas and Israel. A cable sent to Pretoria on June 29, 2012 revealed that the CIA agent "seems to be desperate to make inroads into Hamas in Gaza and possibly would like SSA [the South African State Security Agency] to assist them in gaining access."
In return, the South African agency suggested that the SSA would be able to access American intelligence priorities and understand CIA collection methods throughout the proposed interaction between the CIA and Hamas.
The CIA is prohibited from providing material assistance to a terrorist organization; however, attempting to recruit a spy from within a terrorist organization would be within the intelligence agency's mandate.
"[The] CIA supports the overall US government effort to combat international terrorism by collecting, analyzing and disseminating intelligence on foreign terrorist groups and individuals. [The] CIA conducts those intelligence activities in compliance with the United States constitution, federal statutes and presidential directives," a CIA spokesperson said.