Leaked document reveals Israel top US intelligence target 31Aug13 August 31, 2013

Palestine News Network     -     30 August 2013

obama-and-netanyahu_340_220The Washington Post reported Thursday that document leaked by former contract analyst Edward Snowden shows Israel is a top U.S. target.

The newspaper added that a secret U.S. intelligence budget reveals Israel alongside Iran, China, Russia, Pakistan and Cuba as “key targets” for U.S. counterintelligence.

The fiscal 2013 “Black budget” was first obtained by The Washington Post.

“To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community,” the budget said. “In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI [counterintelligence] against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba.”

Israel has remained a major threat since U.S. citizen Jonathan Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 for spying for Israel.

Paul Pillar of Georgetown University, a former national intelligence officer for the Mideast, told The Hill newspaper that the two countries’ interests are sometimes at odds. 

“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.”

On the issues of continued Israeli construction in West Bank and Obama’s strong interest in reaching a settlement to avoid a confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program, Pillar said, are two issues where U.S. and Israeli interests “certainly diverge.”

It’s worth mentioning that Snowden is wanted by the United States on espionage and other charges after he gave journalists classified documents detailing the NSA’s far-reaching electronic and telephone surveillance programs.

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