Archive for August, 2013

Israel is “key target” for US intelligence

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Antenna of the US AN/TPY-2 X-band radar system set up in the Negev. It is ostensibly there to monitor Iranian missile launches, but it can also see a small aircraft taking off from anywhere in Israel. Only American personnel are allowed anywhere near it.

Antenna of the US AN/TPY-2 X-band radar system set up in the Negev. It is ostensibly there to monitor Iranian missile launches, but it can also see a small aircraft taking off from anywhere in Israel. Only American personnel are allowed anywhere near it.

By Vic Rosenthal

The Washington Post has a document that it says it obtained from Edward Snowden which it calls the ‘black budget’ of the various US intelligence services. It has published only a small part of the material “after consultation with U.S. officials who expressed concerns about the risk to intelligence sources and methods.”

The Post notes the growth of the CIA budget to almost $15 billion in 2013, which I have to admit is a remarkable number, comparable to the GDP of Jamaica or Mozambique, and 50% more than that of the NSA — which, after all,  has to read our email and listen to our phone calls. The total for all the intelligence agencies is $52.6 billion, close to the GDP of Croatia.

But naturally, the first thing I did was search for ‘Israel’ and here is what I found on pages 4-5:

Investments

Although the budget is declining, the mission is not. Prioritizing our requirements was a key element to produce a budget that meets customer needs, supports critical capabilities, addresses gaps, and helps to maintain a strategic advantage. In the FY 2013 NIP [National Intelligence Program] budget, the IC [Intelligence Community] makes targeted investments in:

o Counterintelligence (CI). To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community. In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Cuba. [my emphasis]

Wait, what?

We are making “targeted investments” (read: spending more money) in spying on these ‘targets’ and attempting to prevent them from spying on us — and Israel is a “key target” in the company of  China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba!

This is just plain astonishing, considering that the other “key targets” encompass most of the main threats against US security today.

Keep in mind that unlike Russia, China and Iran, Israel’s main goal is survival, not expansion of its influence. Unlike Iran and Pakistan, it does not harbor terrorists or operate world-wide terrorist networks. Unlike Cuba, it is not a semi-hostile nation a few miles from US borders. Unlike China, it is not engaged in massive theft of intellectual property. The Israeli people are probably among the most pro-American in the world, and the government is remarkably ‘flexible’ — in my opinion, too much so — when called upon to subordinate its own interests to the demands of the US.

The Post suggests that the emphasis on Israel is because “[it] is a U.S. ally but has a history of espionage attempts against the United States.” So do many allies, and as has recently become clear from new documents released in the Pollard case, Israel’s interests — unlike, say, Iran’s — are not in subverting or damaging the US, but in collecting information about threats against itself coming from Arab nations, Russia, Iran, etc.

The obsessive interest in Israel surely can’t be about the ‘peace process’. I mean, really, how important or potentially dangerous is this when compared to the aggressive spread of radical regimes in the Muslim world, the possible implosion of Egypt, or a Syrian civil war that has so far taken about 100,000 lives including children killed by Sarin gas?

And as far as threats go, are they watching the infiltration of Hizballah into South and Central America? Now there’s a threat to the US!

For once, I can’t blame Obama. This has been going on for years (viz., the Pollard case).

No, there is really only one explanation for this fixation on Israel by the US intelligence community. If I may be permitted a technical term, they are batshit crazy.

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