Last update - 17:44 17/03/2009

Report: U.S. bans incoming National Security Council chief

By Haaretz Service

Tags: Israel News, Uzi Arad

Uzi Arad, who is in line to become Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's chief of the National Security Council, is forbidden from entering the United States.

Since June 2007, American authorities have refused to grant Arad permission to enter the country on grounds that Arad poses "a security risk".

American investigators believe Arad is involved in the Larry Franklin affair. Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, was investigated by the FBI on suspicion he passed classified information on Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. U.S. officials believe Franklin met with Arad during his frequent trips to Israel. In the original indictment which was later annulled, Franklin is said to have met with Arad in the cafeteria of the Pentagon in February 2004. Franklin is also believed to have met with an Israeli diplomat serving in the Washington embassy who suggested that he meet with Arad.

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During Arad's last visit to the United States, FBI agents sought to question him. Arad, who was on his way to the airport to catch a return flight to Israel, suggested the investigators accompany him on the flight and question him on board the airplane. The agents agreed and conducted the questioning in flight.

Tuesday editions of The Washington Times quotes Arad as saying that he tried in vain to obtain a visa to the U.S., though he added that the Israeli government is working to rectify the matter.

"The director general of the Israel Foreign Ministry did tell his American counterparts that there has been no cause to deny me a visa," Arad told The Washington Times.

Israeli sources said they were hopeful Arad's appointment to National Security council chief would enable his entry into the United States