Official history of Israeli spy services acknowledges US spying against Israel

American espionage conducted against Israel is hardly news. It is rare, however, that such operations –which are routine in nature– are acknowledged in official histories of intelligence institutions. Yet this is exactly what will happen this coming January, when a new official history of Israel’s intelligence services is published in Israel. The book, titled Masterpiece: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Israeli Intelligence, has been authored by former Shin Bet officer Barak Ben-Zur and will be published by the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. It includes endorsing prefaces by the heads of Israel’s military intelligence, Shin Bet, as well as Mossad. In it, Ben-Zur acknowledges that Israel’s officially unconfirmed nuclear arsenal is a prime espionage target of US intelligence organizations, which “routinely sp[y] on Israel to try to gather information” about it. He briefly mentions that US spy agencies use electronic eavesdropping technologies -rather than human intelligence agents, one would infer- to engage in “methodical intelligence gathering” from its embassy in Tel Aviv. The size –rather than the existence– of Israel’s nuclear arsenal has been a matter of increasing speculation in recent years (former US President Jimmy Carter recently put the number at 150 warheads), though surely this is not an unresolved question for US intelligence agencies. The latter are probably more concerned about Israel’s strategic and tactical nuclear plans. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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