Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter on Middle East peace moves to the CIA, but an Israeli official denied Monday that the aim was to bypass U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Albright would be the usual diplomatic channel for such correspondence.She has been the most outspoken U.S. official putting demands for compromise to Israelis and Palestinians, whose peace talks have been deadlocked for more than a year over Jewish settlements, security and Israeli handovers of West Bank land.

An official in Netanyahu's office confirmed the report by the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that the prime minister sent a letter to President Clinton through the Central Intelligence Agency but said this was routine.

"As far as I know it's not customary to send it always through the Secretary," the official said. He said the letter was sent in March and was about peace moves.

"I don't know why it was routed that way but there was no desire to circumvent anyone or bypass anyone. It was just a desire to make sure that it got to the White House as quickly as possible," the official said.