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Will there be fallout from the NSA sharing intel with Israel?

on 45 Comments

It’s easy to make hyperbolic statements about the thorough infiltration of American policy-making by agents of Israel. It’s easy to claim things like: Capitol Hill is Israeli-occupied territory. Or, Zionists qualify or disqualify Americans from holding high office or public positions of power in America.

Over time however, the very agents whose existence is assumed to be rendered only in the minds of conspiracy theorists, anti-Semites, kooks and wackos have validated at least some of those hyperbolic, overwrought theses. The pipeline American war on Syria illustrates the point. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt claimed that an Israel lobby functions to impact American foreign policy in ways that other lobbies like the NRA do. They were smeared by an array of Zionists from either end of the (admittedly narrow) “Go Israel!” spectrum.

Then Barack Obama walked himself down a damp, fetid hole. When he turned to look he found the rest of the country camped on higher ground. So he called Benjamin Netanyahu to ask for help in whipping Congress – into a martial frenzy. Lobbyists descended by the hundreds to push everyone else into the mire… But still, the Israel lobby is a construct erected in the minds of the feeble by a pair of wonky anti-Semites.


A week ago, it would have been wildly inappropriate to claim that the American spy (and “Stasi“) agency, the NSA, was treasonously spying on Americans on behalf of Israel. Besides being inappropriate, it would have been unbelievable. Literally unbelievable.

Yet, the Guardian claims that the NSA collects information on the American people and American politicians and that it provides that information – uncurated, untreated and unviewed – to the Israelis. And with no meaningful controls on how that information is used:

The memorandum of understanding, which the Guardian is publishing in full, allows Israel to retain “any files containing the identities of US persons” for up to a year. The agreement requests only that the Israelis should consult the NSA’s special liaison adviser when such data is found.

Notably, a much stricter rule was set for US government communications found in the raw intelligence. The Israelis were required to “destroy upon recognition” any communication “that is either to or from an official of the US government”. Such communications included those of “officials of the executive branch (including the White House, cabinet departments, and independent agencies), the US House of Representatives and Senate (member and staff) and the US federal court system (including, but not limited to, the supreme court)”.

It should be noted at this point that Israelis are not Americans. They are Israelis. Which is to say they are not Americans.

So now important questions need to be asked. Nixon was impeached for spying on politicians and lying about it. Obama appears to have spied on other politicians (and regular people – but that’s nothing to be outraged over) – for another country’s politicians! So what? Does it mean anything?

It’s not hyperbolic to claim that the Israelis control a great deal of information and are capable of whipping Congress. It’s a settled fact. But so what? Do Americans care? Does it mean anything? Will ordinary Americans rise up? Will Representatives Justin Amash and Rand Paul be the only elected officials to speak out? Will things change?

They might. But they might not. Open secrets sometimes suppurate and fester in the heat. Weeds thrive in the sunlight.

Ahmed Moor
About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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45 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid on September 11, 2013, 5:03 pm

    This news is very unwelcome for Israel. It may not change anything this year but the picture is becoming very clear and for all of the talk about unbreakable bonds it’s clear that Israel takes a lot without giving anything in return. (To think of all the mud hurled at Mearsheimer and Walt in 2007.)

    And that could turn into an interesting wedge issue for an ambitious politician fighting DC corruption some time in the future. Israel is clearly not on the side of the American people and there is probably a lot of political mileage in that when the right opportunity presents itself. Tea Party 2.0 sort of thing.

    There is no natural American goy constituency for Israel. Zionism is contrived and so is its political influence in the US.
    Hasbaradim are welcome to mention the Christian Zionists but Israel shafts them like it does everyone else.

    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 3:55 pm

      Israel takes a lot without giving anything in return.

      This very memorandum of understanding is an example of that. It commits the NSA to provide raw SIGINT to Israel, but it commits Israel to provide precisely nothing, merely to observe certain rules in handling the SIGINT provided (with no mechanism to ensure that those rules are in fact observed).

  2. marc b.
    marc b. on September 11, 2013, 5:15 pm

    you have to ask if this is part of the reason Chuck Schumer was so exercised about ‘Russia stabbing us in the back’ by offering Snowden asylum (of a sort).

    • bilal a
      bilal a on September 12, 2013, 12:38 am

      Its not just the data, its hinted broadly elsewhere that the entire military intelligence complex is transnational, with a substantial Israeli component, including aerospace , biotech, and computer security systems, scores of IPO start ups flowing from dual use military tech.

      This is the dirty secret of the start up nation, its a massively subsidized offshore trojan horse which feeds on oats of blood and bones.

      Take away its food of war and misery, and it dies.

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont on September 11, 2013, 5:43 pm

    It could (also?) turn into a wedge for politicians, if any, really anxious NOT to go to war with Iran.

    However, seafoid, don’t believe that there is no goyish constituency for Israel. About 25% of Americans have always been strongly pro-Israel (and anti-Palestinian, anti-human-rights-for Palestinians, anti-national-rights-for Palestinians). This 25% contains the huge (southern) Protestant evangelical community who hope for the war of Armageddon which will bring on the “end times”. A war with iran sounds like just their cuppa-tea.

  4. Les
    Les on September 11, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Check out James Bamford’s “Puzzle Palace” and “Body of Secrets” where you will learn that Israeli companies owned internet pipelines and Isreali companies owned the software to analyze the data they got from those pipelines. That some were bought up by American companies did not mean that Israelis stopped being the ones doing that analysis. All that had to be done was to give these Israelis security clearance which even members of Congress do not have.

  5. tombishop
    tombishop on September 11, 2013, 6:57 pm

    Peter Beinart has an article in the new issue of The New York Review of Books: “The American Jewish Cocoon

    I don’t agree with all of his positions such as a two-state solution, but it does show another crack in the Zionist wall.

    These findings about NSA collusion with Israel can only accelerate this trend.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on September 12, 2013, 3:03 am

      Beinart must have had to spend a lot of time triangulating between justice and his tribal allegiance to distance himself from BDS while sticking the knife into Zionism in the article . It came across as quite awkward , as if he was in danger of losing his rhetorical balance at any time.

      • tombishop
        tombishop on September 12, 2013, 4:10 pm

        I basically agree, but we are all evolving at different rates and at least he is trying to find a human basis to his worldview even though he is still trying to hang on to the tribe. Searching for the truth can be a lonely journey.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on September 13, 2013, 8:22 am

        He’s trying to strike out West and bring his people with him but it looks like they don’t fancy moving.

    • marc b.
      marc b. on September 12, 2013, 9:06 am

      beinart’s ‘courage’ and ‘truth to power’ tales are vastly overrated. I found the article naïve, contradictory, racist. that he is considered the beacon of anything is more a commentary on the pettiness and intellectual rigidity of his self-defined community than of his fairness, or his analytical and rhetorical skills.

    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 3:58 pm

      Same issue has an article by the odious Cass Sunstein (who sits on that independent board that is supposedly now reviewing what NSA has been doing).

      • marc b.
        marc b. on September 12, 2013, 5:31 pm

        I had considered dropping my subscription. The editorial board has a particular bent that I find myopic and irritating. LRB is a better read. thankfully I renewed so I could have the pleasure of reading Beinart and Sunstein. you have to wonder why the NYRB is giving Sunstein a platform to polish his humanistic credentials while he is simultaneously (presumably) helping to undermine a legitimate investigation into NSA abuses. curious.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on September 13, 2013, 8:23 am

        The NYRB is superb otherwise but absolutely spineless when it comes to Israel.

  6. Whizdom
    Whizdom on September 11, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Probably not. The Rosen/Franklin affair pretty much showed public opinion on “intel sharing” is fairly muted.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on September 12, 2013, 4:18 am

      Intel sharing and war mongering and plutocracy are all part of the same rotten system

    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 3:58 pm

      The Rosen/Franklin affair did not involve the personal data of millions of Americans.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on September 11, 2013, 7:20 pm

    RE: “Obama appears to have spied on other politicians (and regular people – but that’s nothing to be outraged over) – for another country’s politicians!” ~ Ahmed Moor

    MY COMMENT: As apparently Obama was himself spied upon! ! ! I wonder what the NSA has on him. It must be some really good stuff.

    SEE: “Russ Tice, Bush-Era Whistleblower, Claims NSA Ordered Wiretap Of Barack Obama In 2004”, By Nick Wing, The Huffington Post, 6/20/2013

    [EXCERPTS]Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst who in 2005 blew the whistle on what he alleged was massive unconstitutional domestic spying across multiple agencies, claimed Wednesday that the NSA had ordered wiretaps on phones connected to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.</b?
    Speaking on "The Boiling Frogs Show," Tice claimed the intelligence community had ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats. . .
    . . . Host Sibel Edmonds and Tice both raised concerns that such alleged monitoring of subjects, unbeknownst to them, could provide the intelligence agencies with huge power to blackmail their targets.
    "I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on," Tice said. . .


    P.S. LISTEN TO: “Boiling Frogs Blockbuster: NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice Reveals that Obama, Many Top Officials Were Targets of NSA Surveillance”, by Peter B. Collins & Sibel Edmonds, 6/19/13

    [EXCERPTS] Enraged by the lies and spin offered in response to recent disclosures of massive domestic spying, former NSA official Russell Tice blows his whistle again in this exclusive Boiling Frogs interview, co-hosted with Sibel Edmonds. Please share this podcast widely, and download it to ensure that it doesn’t somehow disappear. Tice makes numerous stunning disclosures in this interview, partly in reaction to the misleading statements from Obama, NSA chief Alexander, FBI boss Mueller and Congressional leaders who defend the programs that were confirmed by the recent leaks from Ed Snowden.
    Tice is deeply concerned that his former agency has gone “rogue”, that Gen. Keith Alexander wields the power to blackmail as J. Edgar Hoover once did, and that hundreds of key people in government, the courts, business and political activism have been targeted for wiretapping and other surveillance. He names names.
    He responds to the unsigned FISA Court ruling against Yahoo that dismissed 4th amendment issues and asserted that there have been no abuses. Tice knows of real abuses, and tells quite a bit.
    We talk about cyberwarfare, and the NSA’s ability to originate cyber attacks but make it look like they came from China or Iran. . .
    . . . Tice explains in detail how the National Security Agency targets, sucks-in, stores and analyzes illegally obtained content from the masses in the United States. He contradicts officials and the mainstream media on the status of the NSA’s Utah facility, which is already operating and “On-Line.” He reveals the NSA as a Deep State that targets and wiretaps US political candidates for its own purposes.

    SOURCE –

    AUDIO OF ENTIRE INTERVIEW (1 Hour, 23 minutes) –

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870 on September 11, 2013, 7:33 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice Offers More Details: Sen. Feinstein and Others Were Wiretapped by NSA”, by Peter B. Collins, 7/15/13

      [EXCERPT] In our interview in June, NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice told Sibel Edmonds and PBC flatly that Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein was one of many targets of NSA surveillance, using wiretapping and other methods. Big Question: does Feinstein know this, or has NSA kept it secret even from its highest-ranking oversight official?We kept this interview brief, and to the point: Is Sen. Feinstein unaware that NSA targets top elected leaders, including herself? If she is aware, does she support domestic surveillance programs because she is compromised by blackmail or other leverage? And even if she is not compromised, does she see the potential for abuse by a rogue NSA? . . .


      • bilal a
        bilal a on September 12, 2013, 12:54 am

        The Obama Inside threat program predates Snowden and did nothing to prevent his actions , but apprently hinders internal criticism as a potential ‘threat’. Israeli spy Pollar is mentioned in the insider threat mcClathey description, suggesting that Obama was aware of an Israeli internal risk, insider moles.

        Feinstein was targeted by the NSA because she is a potential MOSSAD mole?

        Now the uncovering of a clandestine CIA operation involving the installation of double agents inside the ranks of al-Qaeda by the mainstream media over the weekend has left Lt. Gen. Clapper demanding answers about a possible mole within the ranks of America’s supposedly top-secret spy agency.

        I don’t think those leaks should have happened. There was an operation in progress and I think the leak is regarded as very serious,” says Sen. Feinstein this week.

      • bilal a
        bilal a on September 12, 2013, 1:24 am

        EIR (not verified ) this has happened b4:

        To this day, the Pollard affair is a hot-button issue inside the U.S. intelligence community. At the time of Pollard’s arrest in November 1985, it was known that the Navy analyst had been “tasked” to obtain specific U.S. military intelligence secrets, by someone much higher up in the U.S. intelligence community. To this day, the hunt for “Mr. X,” Pollard’s inside controller, continues. In 1986, EIR had revealed the existence of not merely a “Mr. X,” but an “X Committee,” made up of nearly a dozen top-level Pentagon and National Security Council officials, all suspected of having been part of the Pollard spy network.

        Given the seriousness of the Mega security breach, the abrupt shutdown of the mole hunt naturally prompted some wild speculation about the circumstances under which the search for Mega was abandoned. In March 1999, British author Gordon Thomas released a book, Gideon’s Spies, which alleged that Israel had blackmailed the Clinton Administration, with the threat to release tapped telephone conversations between the President and Monica Lewinsky, to force Washington to abandon the Mega hunt. Indeed, in her testimony before independent counsel Kenneth Starr, Lewinsky had reported that the President had warned her, on March 29, 1997, at the height of the Mega hunt, that he suspected the White House telephones were being tapped by agents of an unnamed foreign country.

        Danile Pipes took time to trash the book especially the coverage of Israeli tech spying:

        Nor, preposterous as it sounds, is this all. Gordon goes on for many pages about a remarkable computer program, Promis, which the Mossad allegedly bought in 1981 from a U.S. corporation named Inslaw. This software, according to Thomas, can “electronically probe into the lives of people in a way never before possible.” During the intifada, the 1987-92 Palestinian uprising against Israel, Promis gave Israel the means to “lock on to computers in the PLO’s seventeen offices scattered around the world”; Israel’s intelligence service could thereby learn what “aliases and false passports” Yasir Arafat was using and track his phone bills and the numbers he called, with the result that, wherever he went, “Arafat would be unable to hide.”

        The tech tracking system with Israeli links, discussed by Pipes, the infamous Promis software, evolves into a system inside the NSA:

        [evidently quoting Salon ] May 2008: Former Official Admits PROMIS Application Given to NSA
        Edit event

        Former national security official Norman Bailey admits publicly and on the record that the PROMIS database and search application has been given to the NSA. As Salon magazine points out: “His admission is the first public acknowledgement by a former US intelligence official that the NSA used the PROMIS software.” Bailey also says that the application was given to the Treasury Department for a financial tracking project in the early 1980s that also involved the National Security Council (see 1982-1984). Bailey worked for US governments from the Ronald Reagan era until the George W. Bush administration and, in addition to the 1980s tracking program, he headed a special unit within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on financial intelligence on Cuba and Venezuela in 2006 and 2007. [Salon, 7/23/2008]

  8. Real Jew
    Real Jew on September 11, 2013, 8:38 pm

    There will be no fallout. No fallout because the masses will not hear about it. Sure mondoweiss readers and other informed individuals will know about this treason but that’s about it.
    Think of Snowden or Syria for a moment. Cnn has done not stop coverage about both especially a possible strike against the Assad regime. The average american sees it and decides to be outraged or not. Can you imagine CNN exposing our govt giving sensitive information about their citizens to israel? Ha! Will never happen.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on September 12, 2013, 4:56 am

      @ Real Jew

      Yours is a good bet.

    • quercus
      quercus on September 12, 2013, 7:41 am

      @ Real Jew. I think you are mistaken. More and more people are becoming better informed about issues in the Middle East, some due to their own research and desire to read news not from US sources, and others because they have been ‘educated’ by those who are better informed. As an example, my aunt had the predictably American view of Israel, as that poor, beleaguered, country surrounded by ‘enemies’ who ‘want to push Jews into the sea’. When I challenged those assumptions with her, she was, at first, dismissive and hostile (it’s hard to admit one has been deluded), eventually through patient dialog and some not so patient and through providing back up material, she has done a 180, and now even does her own research. She has begun sharing her new found enlightenment with others who think such as she did, and so it goes, and so it will go, and this is how important, long term change happens. Not suddenly, not quickly, but slowly and patiently does the circle turn. I will submit that many, many more Americans have turned that 180 degrees, it doesn’t matter what CNN or Fox News or MSNBC say, they do not represent the views of most Americans, but rather a narrow slice of the American public. They are irrelevant and many more Americans distrust them, that too has been a change.

      The change was coming; the change has happened, it matters not what our media says anymore. Enough people know the truth.

      • lysias
        lysias on September 12, 2013, 4:03 pm

        That a substantial majority of the American public now rejects what the establishment politicians and the media have been telling them about Syria shows that that change has already occurred.

      • Real Jew
        Real Jew on September 12, 2013, 7:51 pm

        @ quercus, lysias. I don’t disagree that more people today distrust mainstream media and politicians than in the past. However when considering the little change in popular opinion and polls conducted in the US they suggest this number is marginal. Mainstream media is in no way irrelevant. They continue to hold sway over the majority. However I do recognize an informed minority emerging thanks to the internet and other news outlets.
        I’m optimistic that in the future things will change but in the foreseeable future probably not.

      • lysias
        lysias on September 12, 2013, 10:14 pm

        In 1780 or even 1785, what percentage of the French population do you think felt distrust of the government? 5, 10%? It was the educated part of the population, and, once the harvests failed and the government faced the prospect of default, that percentage quickly expanded.

  9. calm
    calm on September 11, 2013, 8:49 pm

    Because I thought that this story would totally upset Joe Public, I have spent all day tripping around Mouse Land and watching all TV channels wanting to view and read reactions.

    To my knowledge, no major TV news network has mentioned this story at all.

    The only newspaper I have seen the story in is US News World Report with a link to the Guardian. The Washington Times has it on page 29.

    Twitter is shutting down accounts if the topic is mentioned. I know of 3 instances myself.

    I think that this story will cause more harm to Israel then anything of recent times. Every suspicion concerning Israeli power within the U.S. has been confirmed.

    I believe that the next town hall meeting for any politician will require the rental of the local arena because of the public reaction.

    I have wondered if the Guardian deliberately chose this date to print the article knowing full well that the media is working full time on the 9-11 memorial story and the Syria story.

    Was it the Israeli’s who raided the General Petraeus e-mail account because of his “Israel Not A Strategic Ally” story when he was discredited by a romantic affair?

    On a side story ….. did anybody view the news story which has Petraeus walking down the street in New York and being harassed by ordinary citizens as they recognized him and were screaming “War Criminal”?


    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 4:05 pm

      It was the lead news story on NPR radio this morning.

    • MRW
      MRW on September 12, 2013, 6:41 pm

      Twitter is shutting down accounts if the topic is mentioned.

      WHAT? Are they shutting down Greenwald as well?

  10. American
    American on September 11, 2013, 9:52 pm

    I dont expect to see any overwhelming protest about NSA giving all our data to Israel. ..the US media will bury it.
    BUT….every little bit that comes out on US-Isr helps.
    I have always pictured the end of AIPAC and USA-Israel as coming from ‘accumlated’
    negative bits and pieces, info ‘absorbed” but filed away for future reference, in enough of the public’s mind that eventually will cause an erruption.
    Could errupt over something large like Iran or something small, could be the sheer repetition of US politicians pledging allegiance to Israel that grates too much, but it will be one of those– ‘enough is finally too much’ —things. Something will just spark in the public regarding Israel and it will be off and running.

  11. crone
    crone on September 11, 2013, 11:29 pm

    Info on this has been online since 2001 – MSN never would pick up of course

    here are 3 links


    Amdocs is one of the two contracts Israel has for US telecommunications

  12. Kate
    Kate on September 12, 2013, 12:41 am

    When is this story broken by The Guardian going to be taken up by US news outlets? I can’t find it on any US network or (so far) in any US newspaper — with the single shining exception of Al Jazeera America. I don’t know about other people, but I very much resent having information withheld from me by supposed ‘news’ organizations. And I of course wonder what other news is being withheld.

    • Marco
      Marco on September 12, 2013, 2:57 am

      Kate – It’s censorship, plain and simple.

      And it extends to every local newspaper, to your favorite blog, and social media page.

      Some people are simply intolerant of the concept of free speech. They’re unwilling to countenance both the benefits and disadvantages of letting people speak their mind in public squares, both physical and virtual.

      By doing so, they attempt to control the limits of public discourse and maintain the status quo.

    • just
      just on September 12, 2013, 6:30 am

      There are articles up at LATimes & Wapo…that’s all I’ve seen so far.

    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 4:06 pm

      The Times of London’s front-page story about Sibel Edmonds’s revelations was never picked up by U.S. news outlets.

    • marc b.
      marc b. on September 12, 2013, 4:09 pm

      kate, the local NPR affiliate, via Christopher Lydon, brought up the issue briefly in the context of the Syria debate, Lydon exasperated that NSA is vacuuming up personal data to be handed off to the ‘Israelis’.

  13. dbroncos
    dbroncos on September 12, 2013, 3:23 am

    The Israelis could sell NSA info to Americas adversaries in China, Russia etc.. just like they did with US weapons systems technoilogy that they sold to China. Who’s to say they won’t? Who’s to say they haven’t done so already?

  14. upsidedownism
    upsidedownism on September 12, 2013, 8:12 am

    Mossad probably now has details of everybody who has ever posted a message on Mondoweiss, and may be even everybody who has even looked at this web site.

  15. Egbert
    Egbert on September 12, 2013, 8:31 am

    Here is an graphic showing AIPAC/Israel’s view of the US. Note the Stars and Stripes being morphed into the Star of David. As far as they are concerned Israel and the US are the same, with the US there to give cover for Israel. This is an extreme case of the foreign entanglement that Washington warned against.

    • lysias
      lysias on September 12, 2013, 4:08 pm

      In Articles of Confederation days, Louis XVI’s birthday was celebrated as a holiday in the U.S.

  16. tombishop
    tombishop on September 12, 2013, 3:42 pm

    The more I learn about Edward Snowden, the more I admire him.
    “Reporter Had To Decide If Snowden Leaks Were ‘The Real Thing”
    NPR’s Fresh Air

  17. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on September 12, 2013, 4:57 pm

    I never feel very surprised to hear about secret police intrusions. Snowden tells us what we knew already. There are no effective legal or technological barriers, surely, to their finding out anything they want and informing their friends, and never have been. I like to think I’m protected by my insignificance.

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