Leaked documents reveal US sees Israel as a major spying threat
by Julian Pecquet
The Obama administration views Israel as one of the top spying threats facing its intelligence services, leaked documents reveal.
A secret budget request obtained by The Washington Post from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden lumps Israel alongside U.S. foes Iran and Cuba as “key targets” for U.S. counterintelligence efforts. The document suggests Israel does not believe U.S. assurances that its interests are aligned with Israel’s on crucial issues such as Iran and peace talks with the Palestinians.
The White House and the Israeli Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
The revelations come as no surprise to Georgetown University’s Paul Pillar, who retired as the national intelligence officer for the Near East in 1995 after a 28-year career in U.S. intelligence. Israeli spying, he said, has remained a major threat since U.S. citizen Jonathan Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 in a massive spying case that gravely strained relations between the two countries.
“Israel should be assumed to continue to have an aggressive intelligence collection operations against the United States,” Pillar said. While much information is collected through traditional political contacts, “I would personally have no doubt that that is supplemented by whatever means they can use to find out as much as they can about what we’re doing, thinking, deciding on anything of interest to Israel, which would include just about any Middle Eastern topic.”
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