Next Time Someone Gets Indignant about Israeli Spying on the United States …
by Daniel Pipes
... refer him to this little item, "American sub spied on Israel," from Aaron Lerner at the Independent Media Review Analysis:
May 8, 2007 update: Gregory Levey, Israel's United Nations speechwriter and a senior foreign communications coordinator for Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, has this to say in an article titled "Spy Games: America's efforts to spy on Israel."
Levey then tells a personal anecdote and quotes an Israeli counterintelligence agent whether Israelis are much concerned about American espionage. "Definitely," he nodded gravely. "They're trying to spy on us all the time—every way they can." A former U.S. intelligence official then replied to the question, whether the United States spies on Israel: "As an American, I would certainly hope so." There is "definitely an inordinate amount of focus" on Israel in U.S. intelligence. Are there people in the Israeli government and military who feed information to the United States, reverse Jonathan Pollards, he replied "It wouldn't surprise me at all." Levey gives one specific example, the 1986 case of Yosef Amit.
Apr. 24, 2008 update: Reacting to the arrest of 84-year-old Ben-Ami Kadish on charges of spying for Israel that date back 25 years, Caroline Glick offers policy advice for Israel in her Jerusalem Post column:
Dec. 10, 2008 update: A Reuters reporter, Dan Williams, got a look at a new official history of Israel's intelligence services due out later this month that contains new evidence of U.S. spying on Israel. Titled in English "Masterpiece: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Israeli Intelligence," it is as official a document as can be, with prefaces by the chiefs of Israel's military intelligence, Shin Bet, and Mossad and the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center as publisher.
Williams found that "American spy agencies use technologies like electronic eavesdropping, and trained staff from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, for 'methodical intelligence gathering'."
Barak Ben-Zur, a retired Shin Bet internal security service officer, wrote in the volume that "The United States has been after Israel's non-conventional capabilities and what goes on at the decision-making echelons." Asked by Reuters for operational details on U.S. spying efforts, Ben-Zur declined. But he described the American efforts as largely benign, given close defense ties between Israel and the Bush administration. "At the end of the day," he said, "the United States does not want to be surprised. Even by us."
Nov. 29, 2010 update: Israel's ambassador to Washington in 1993-96, Itamar Rabinovich, has revealed that the U.S. government broke an Israeli code and tapped its secure phone embassy line. He did not specify the time period but it appears to have been after his ambassadorial tenure and went undiscovered for years, reports Yossi Melman in Ha'aretz.
Jan. 19, 2011 update: WikiLeaks reveals, Reuters reports, a secret U.S. Department of State memorandum dated Oct. 31, 2008, signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Details:
Sep. 5, 2011 update: Scott Shane of The New York Times describes evidence of U.S. government spying on Israeli secure telephone lines in "Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel."
Shamai K. Leibowitz, 40, an FBI Hebrew-to-English translator who once legally represented the Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, passed on U.S. transcripts of Israeli embassy conversations to an extreme anti-Israel blogger, Richard Silverstein. He did so in the hopes that Silverstein would use the information to counter Israeli influence on the U.S. Congress and public opinion. Note what Leibowitz was translating: U.S. eavesdrops of Israeli government communications.
Shane adds that "Former counterintelligence officials describe Israeli intelligence operations in the United States as quite extensive, ranking just below those of China and Russia." He quotes Matthew M. Aid, author of the forthcoming Intel Wars, that Washington "started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us," adding that "Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories."
Aug. 7, 2012 update: I collect this information in an article today at "Spy vs. Spy, America vs. Israel."
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