The news that the US intelligence services considers Israel to be one of their major spying threats has cast yet another shadow over the “evidence” for the “Syrian chemical weapons attack,” which has all come from the Jewish state, The New Observer has reported.
According to new leaked documents revealed by The Washington Post, the US intelligence services view Israel as one of the top spying threats facing America.
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 documents leaked by Snowden state that the US intelligence community aims to “further safeguard” its classified networks from foreign intelligence spying, and this includes spying from Israel, supposedly America’s “only ally in the Middle East.”
“To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community,” reads the FY 2013 congressional budget justification for intelligence programs, one of the documents leaked.
“In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI [counterintelligence] against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba.”
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 told The Hill, 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, he said, “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.”
Spying, he said, could give Israel “warning indicators” before any public decisions, and enable the country to put its “political machine in action” and get the United States to reconsider.
He said the public revelations won’t impact U.S.-Israeli relations.
“Everything is trumped by political realities,” Pillar said. “Don’t expect any statement by the White House press secretary tomorrow that says, ‘Oh my gosh, we are really upset with the Israelis for trying to spy on us’. You’re never going to hear anything like that, because politically it is hazardous for basically any American politician – and certainly an incumbent American administration – to underscore … the divergence of U.S. and Israeli interests.”