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Friday, August 30, 2013

Video details about 'black budget' for spying on Israel and the Pollard connection

Here's a report from WJLA-TV in Washington about the US intelligence agencies 'black budgets' for spying on foreign countries, a story I covered originally here.

Let's go to the videotape.

A report at The Hill makes what seems to me to be an obvious connection between the black budget and convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the United States, after the US government broke a plea bargain (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
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.”
The issues of continued Israeli settlement construction and Obama's strong interest in reaching a negotiated settlement to avoid a confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program, Pillar said, are two issues where U.S. and Israeli interests “certainly diverge,” he said. 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.
“If I were in [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's shoes and had his perspective,” Pillar said, “I would spare no effort to try to collect every bit of intelligence I could, in secret as well as openly.”
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.”
Sounds to me like Pillar should be working the State Department. They have the same sort of Israel-hating perspective on things. Then again, Georgetown probably isn't a bad choice for him either.

I want to point out again that if you look at the list of countries on which the US is spying (China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba), Israel is the only one that is supposedly considered a friend of the United States. No other country on that list would surprise anyone. And you don't see the US spying on Britain or South Korea (to give two non-Arab, non-Muslim countries that are comparable either in terms of a close relationship with the US or in terms of military predicament). You don't think anti-Semitism has anything to do with this attitude, do you? Maybe if the US government was sharing the information it has agreed to share with Israel, and were backing its supposed ally, it wouldn't feel the need to spend billions of dollars spying and counter-spying on Israel.

And you wonder where Chas Freeman came from? 


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At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI- The State Department is staffed by former students at Georgetown School of Foreign Service which also has one of the biggest Saudi backed Arab Studies Departments. Just sayin'...


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