Why Is the NSA Putting Israel First?
The following leaked slide from Edward Snowden was released today by Glenn Greenwald in his new book, No Place to Hide:
If you can’t read the slide, it says:
Balancing the SIGINT exchange equally between US and Israeli needs has been a constant challenge in the last decade, it arguably tilted heavily in favor of Israeli security concerns. 9/11 came, and went, with NSA’s only true Third Party CT relationship being driven almost totally by the needs of the partner.
That is a stunning statement. It implies that the signals intelligence exchange between the American and Israeli governments has been driven almost entirely by the NSA giving information to the Israelis, instead of Israel giving information to the U.S. … even though we were the ones attacked on 9/11.
Remember, the raw data in American citizens collected by the NSA is shared with Israel. As the Guardian reported in September:
The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
According to the agreement, the intelligence being shared would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications. “NSA routinely sends ISNU [the Israeli Sigint National Unit] minimized and unminimized raw collection”, it says.
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)”.
This not only raises major privacy concerns for American citizens, but it might mean that Israel is spying on the American Congress and other high-level politicians.
We have nothing against Israel, but – as American citizens – we want our intelligence agencies to put the American people and American security first.