Thursday, August 02, 2012

How Many Jonathan Pollards Does The US Have Spying On Israel?

Last week, the Associated Press came out with an article highlighting the fact that Israelis keeps a close eye on the CIA presence in Israel:
The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his superiors about the break-in.
The incident, described by three former senior U.S. intelligence officials, might have been dismissed as just another cloak-and-dagger incident in the world of international espionage, except that the same thing had happened to the previous station chief in Israel.
Referring to the Associated Press articke, National Union MK Arieh Eldad is saying that the break-in should raise questions of why the CIA is operating in Israel:
"If Obama realizes that he needs American Jewish votes or money, there is hope to bring about Pollard's release by November,” Eldad said. “But if not, Israel must remove the [US's] mask. They say one of the problems of the Pollard case is that countries do not spy on their friends. It's time to say out out loud what the CIA was doing in that apartment and what is happening
on the roof of the US embassy in Tel Aviv. They are spying on a friendly country."
And apparently the US has been spying on Israel for a long time. Matthew M. Aid, author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror notes:
While treated as highly classified by the F.B.I., the fact that the United States spies on Israel is taken for granted by experts on intelligence. “We started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us,” said Mr. Aid, the author. “Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories,” designated with the code word Gamma to indicate their protected status, he said.
But don't worry! It turns out that the CIA has a strict policy on recruiting Israeli spies. According to the Huffington Post, CIA officers are forbidden from recruiting Israeli spies--without approval:
CIA policy generally forbids its officers in Tel Aviv from recruiting Israeli government sources, officials said. To do so would require approval from senior CIA leaders, two former senior officials said. During the Bush administration, the approval had to come from the White House.
As Aaron Lerner of IMRA points out:
Note the word "generally"
According to the article, the US sees Israel as a "spy threat"--what exactly should that make the US in the eyes of the Israeli government?

US espionage against Israel appears to be an open secret.

The only difference appears to be that Jonathan Pollard was caught--US agents spying on Israel have not been. Or at least Israel has not made an issue of it if they have been.

Arieh Eldad is suggesting that in light of the US refusal to treat Pollard fairly, perhaps Israeli policy in that regard should change.

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