Israel reacts angrily to claims it spies on the United States

Embassy of Israel in Washington, DCBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The government of Israel has reacted angrily to claims in the press that its spies are aggressively trying to steal American secrets. Tel Aviv instructed its embassy in Washington, DC, to “strongly protest” allegations, made by American newsmagazine Newsweek on Tuesday, that Israel’s spies “have gone too far” in targeting American interests. In an article published in Newsweek Tuesday, veteran intelligence correspondent Jeff Stein quoted Congressional staffers as saying that America’s Jewish allies had “crossed red lines” in their efforts to steal secrets from the United States. That was reportedly relayed to US lawmakers in classified briefings on Capitol Hill by officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, as well as the National Counterintelligence Directorate. At the closed-door briefings, members of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Judiciary committees were told that Israel’s espionage operations against US interests were both “unrivaled and unseemly” and had reached levels far higher than similar activities by other allied countries, such as Britain or Japan. One Congressional staffer told Stein that “no other country continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do”. Another staffer, who was present during one of the classified briefings, described the information given to lawmakers as “very sobering [...], alarming, even terrifying”. The Newsweek article reported that Tel Aviv’s main intelligence goal in America is to acquire inside information on US technical projects and industrial secrets. It added that this is done through Israel’s trade missions or through Israeli companies that work in collaboration with American firms. In other cases, Israeli intelligence operatives work directly out of the Israeli embassy in Washington. However, Aaron Sagui, a spokesman at the Israeli embassy in Washington, reacted angrily to Newsweek’s revelations, condemning what he called “outrageous, false allegations [that] are being directed against Israel”. He added that “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period”. Read more of this post

About these ads

News you may have missed #841 (Snowden leak analysis)

Edward SnowdenBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►US officials defend spy programs as safeguards against terror. Intelligence officials sought to convince US House lawmakers in an unusual briefing that the government’s years-long collection of phone records and Internet usage is necessary for protecting Americans —and does not trample on their privacy rights. The parade of FBI and intelligence officials who briefed the entire House on Tuesday was the latest attempt to soothe outrage over NSA programs which collect billions of Americans’ phone and Internet records.
►►Some in US intelligence see Chinese behind Snowden leak. Former CIA officer Bob Baer told CNN that some US intelligence officials “are seriously looking at [the revelations made by Edward Snowden] as a potential Chinese covert action. Hong Kong is controlled by Chinese intelligence”, Baer told CNN Sunday evening. “It’s not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case”.
►►Leak highlights risk of outsourcing US spy work. The explosive leak uncovering America’s vast surveillance program highlights the risks Washington takes by entrusting so much of its defense and spy work to private firms, experts say. Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old man whose leak uncovered how spy agencies sift through phone records and Internet traffic, is among a legion of private contractors who make up nearly 30 percent of the workforce in intelligence agencies. From analyzing intelligence to training new spies, jobs that were once performed by government employees are now carried out by paid contractors, in a dramatic shift that began in the 1990s amid budget pressures.

News you may have missed #742

'Spy rock' used in AfghanistanBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Obama warns Congress of overspending on intelligence. The administration of US President Barack Obama is warning that it has “serious concerns” about a 2013 intelligence authorization bill that the House of Representatives passed on Thursday, because it authorizes spending on intelligence activities that go well beyond President Obama’s request. Despite this concern, the administration said that it “does not oppose” the Intelligence Authorization Act, HR 5743, instead supporting language that would repeal some reporting obligations that the government now has to Congress.
►►US forces use fake rocks to spy on Afghans. Palm-sized sensors, disguised as rocks, developed for the American military, will remain littered across the Afghan countryside –detecting anyone who moves nearby and reporting their locations back to a remote headquarters. Some of these surveillance tools could be buried in the ground, all-but-unnoticeable by passersby. These rocks contain wafer-sized, solar-rechargeable batteries that could enable the sensors’ operation for perhaps as long as two decades. Hmm…where have we seen this before?
►►Pakistan spy chief postpones US trip. Pakistan’s spymaster, Lieutenant-General Zahir ul-Islam, has postponed a trip to the United States in the latest sign of the dire state of relations between two supposed allies in the war against Islamist extremists. America has stepped up drone strikes on Pakistani territory in the week since the two countries failed to reach an agreement on NATO supply convoys at a summit in Chicago. Last week, officials in Washington also condemned Pakistan’s decision to jail a doctor who helped the CIA hunt Osama bin Laden.

News you may have missed #370

  • Ukrainians ‘not spying any more’ on Russian FSB. Ukrainian counterintelligence services have stopped monitoring Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officials stationed in Ukraine, according to a leading Ukrainian weekly. Ukrainian-Russian relations have dramatically improved since February, when Ukraine’s pro-Moscow leader Viktor Yanukovych was elected President.
  • US House votes to allow auditing of spy agencies. Despite several veto threats from the White House, the US House of Representatives has adopted an amendment to defense authorization bill HR 5136, which would give the Government Accountability Office the power to audit intelligence agencies.
  • Leading Turkish daily wiretapped. Turkish former deputy police chief Emin Aslan, who was arrested in 2009 in a drug trafficking investigation, says he was told in 2008 that the phone lines at Turkey’s leading daily Milliyet were wiretapped. The wiretapping appears to be connected to the notorious Ergenekon affair.

Bookmark and Share

Protestant alleges links between N. Ireland loyalists and British state

Raymond McCord

Ray McCord, Sr.

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On November 9, 1997, Royal Air Force officer Raymond McCord Jr. was beaten to death in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by members of the Mount Vernon branch of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). McCord’s beating was one of many instances in which Northern Ireland’s most violent loyalist gang targeted members of its own Protestant community. The difference in McCord’s case was that his father, Raymond McCord Sr., decided to come forward and speak out about the decades-old collusion between Northern Irish loyalist paramilitaries and Britain’s security services. Despite repeated death threats and intimidation, McCord’s campaign prompted an official investigation into the matter by Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan. Her 2007 report confirmed that the leader of the Mount Vernon UVF, Mark Haddock, had been repeatedly protected by police authorities, despite being routinely implicated in extortion, blackmail, drug dealing and arson, as well as in dozens of paramilitary-style attacks that resulted in 16 murders and 10 attempted murders. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0224

  • Parts 6 and 7 of CIA defector’s writings now available. Former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Eringer has published the sixth and seventh installments (chapters 2 and 3 of “The Spy’s Cookbook”) of the writings of Edward Lee Howard, a CIA officer who defected to the USSR in 1985 (see here for previous intelNews coverage). In part six, Howard writes about the methodology of visiting (among other places) the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. In part seven, he advises that the only time a double agent’s handlers should call the agent’s home is to tell him or her to “get out and leave the country!”.
  • Congressional vote on US PATRIOT Act delayed. The US House of Representatives tabled on Wednesday legislation to reform US domestic surveillance law. The Senate is likewise expected to delay the matter. The delays will automatically extend provisions of the PATRIOT Act that would otherwise expire at year’s end.

Bookmark and Share

Congress briefing on CIA activities halted after officials refuse to take oath

Gloria Luttig

Gloria Luttig

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A US Congressional briefing on the CIA was unexpectedly halted on Wednesday, after Justice Department officials refused to take the oath. The briefing, by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, concerned the April 20, 2001 shooting down by the CIA of a Cessna 185 floatplane, which was suspected of transporting drugs from Colombia to Peru. The plane was actually carrying an American Christian missionary family, including two children, who were on their way to Lima, Peru. The attack on the plane resulted in the death of the mother and one of the children. As intelNews reported in November of 2008, a still-classified report by the Office of the US Inspector General concluded that the murder of the two Americans resulted from routine violation of intercept procedures by CIA operatives. Read more of this post

Revelation of secret program prompted CIA spat with Congress [updated]

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
More information has emerged about the background to an ongoing dispute between the US House Intelligence Committee and the CIA, which intelNews has been covering since late last month. The Washington Post has now revealed that on June 24, CIA director Leon Panetta informed the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of his decision to terminate a CIA project, which the Agency had kept hidden from Congress since 2001. Nobody will publicly state what the secret project involved, except to say that it “was planned and never executed” and that it “never quite achieved its original concept” (whatever this means). Read more of this post

US House Intelligence Committee says routinely misled by CIA

Reyes

Reyes

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On June 23, intelNews reported on the endorsement by key lawmakers in Washington of a proposed bill that would force US intelligence agencies to make full disclosure of covert spy programs to all members of Congress’ intelligence oversight panels. Yesterday, US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), came out once again in support of the proposed legislation, saying that he has evidence that the Committee he chairs has been routinely “misled [...] and [...] affirmatively lied to” by the CIA. Reyes’ allegations were included in a letter to the committee’s Republican members, in which he urged them to support the proposed bill. According to the National Security Act of 1947, Congressional intelligence committees must be “fully and currently” informed about the activities of US intelligence agencies. In recent years, however, military and intelligence officials routinely make use of a classification label called Operational Preparation of the Environment (OPE), which allows them to shield certain activities from Congressional oversight. Read more of this post

US whistleblowing legislation gets little media attention

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Unlike American news outlets, the US intelligence community is paying a lot of attention right now to HR 1507, known as the 2009 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The act is currently making the rounds at two US House of Representatives committees, namely the Oversight and Government Reform and the Homeland Security committee. There was an interesting debate yesterday morning at the Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing, where proponents and opponents of HR 1507 focused on the bill’s provisions protecting the rights of whistleblowers in the intelligence and security services. Under current legislation (the 1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, or ICWPA), there is a large gap separating the rights of intelligence and security whistleblowers from those of other government employees. Read more of this post

CIA agents lied about killing missionaries, report reveals

In 1994, then US President Bill Clinton authorized a covert CIA operation to assist the Peruvian Air Force in preventing planes carrying narcotics from flying over that country’s territory. Among the results of this operation was the shooting down of a Cessna 185 floatplane on April 20, 2001, which the CIA suspected of transporting drugs from Colombia to Peru. The only problem was that there were no drugs on the plane. It was actually carrying an American Christian missionary family, including two children, who were on their way to Lima, Peru. The attack on the plane resulted in the death of the mother and one of the children. A still-classified report by the Office of the US Inspector General has now revealed what many CIA critics suspected, namely that the murder of the two Americans resulted from routine violation of intercept procedures by CIA operatives. What is more, not only did the CIA refuse to acknowledge its mistake, but CIA employees actually “misled and even lied to Congress about what happened and did not supply accurate information to the Department of Justice or the Bush administration”. Furthermore, the Agency “obstructed inquiries into its role in the shooting down” of the aircraft by “cover[ing] up evidence of its failings”. Reportedly, the CIA has yet to discipline anyone about these murders. Meanwhile, the mother and grandmother of the murdered victims, Gloria Luttig, has expressed her disgust about the fact that “some of the members of the CIA [involved in the incident] have been promoted” since the murders. [IA]

.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 635 other followers