(photo credit: COURTESY FOREIGN MINISTRY)
Israel's top intelligence officer will visit the United States this week, sources with knowledge of the itinerary said; a sign that security cooperation continues despite disputes between the countries' leaders over strategy over Iran.
Major-General Herzi Halevy, commander of Israeli military intelligence, is scheduled to meet US defense officials and attend a pro-Israel fundraising event, the sources said. It is his first US trip since being appointed in September.
Bilateral ties have been strained by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech in the US Congress last week against President Barack Obama's negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. However, Obama has emphasized his administration's continuing defense assistance to the Israelis.
One source described Halevy's trip as routine and an opportunity for the general to familiarize himself with Washington's counterpart agencies.
A day after Israeli media reported that the US was halting Intel cooperation efforts
with Israel against Iran last week, US spy chief James Clapper
said that strict monitoring of Iran remains a key focus of the US intelligence community and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"We need the basic foundational information and insight provided by those inspections and surveillance capabilities represented by the IAEA, which then we would double check, verify with our own organic intelligence capabilities and that of our partners, and notably, the Israelis," the US national intelligence director told Charlie Rose
"My focus and the focus of the intelligence community is our ability to verify if negotiations are successful and there are some agreements struck, is our ability to monitor and verify that" Clapper said.
Channel 10 had reported a halt in intelligence cooperation between the two countries, which had provided information for key IAEA reports into Iran's nuclear activity that helped enlist the world's support for sanctions against the Islamic Republic.