Ex-MI6 chief says intelligence info was kept from Israel

Britain’s former spy chief has made a rare appearance to give an account of his agency’s relations with the State of Israel.

Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove recounted Wednesday in the British spy agency’s tenuous relations with Israel, saying that it had had to keep information from the Jewish state a number of times.

Speaking at a conference marking the 60th anniversary of British-Israeli diplomatic relations, at which President Shimon Peres was also present, Sir Richard added that Hezbollah and Hamas were Iranian satellites.

“There is no doubt that Israel plays by a different set of rules than the rules that we observe in the UK. I’m not going to expand on that, but I will just have to leave it to the imagination,” Dearlove told the conference.

The man who headed MI6 during the previous decade added that at times his agency preferred not to share information with Israel.

“I was quite frequently in discussion with Robin Cook as foreign secretary about what should or shouldn’t be passed to our Israeli colleagues – and there are obvious reasons for that, because we could never guarantee how the intelligence might or would be used by the state of Israel,” he said.

But Dearlove added that although relations with Israel were difficult, “that doesn’t mean it’s not important and that it’s not given close attention professionally and politically”.

The former spy chief also discussed Egypt’s future following the successful deposing of Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the subsequent rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I, for one, have absolutely no illusions about what the Muslim Brotherhood is, or can be. It can be a social organization. It can be a political organization. But it is at heart, in my view, a terrorist organization,” he explained.

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