New Snowden leak highlights collaboration between NSA and Israeli intelligence

Nick Barrickman

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden highlight the extensive collaboration between the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Israel’s SIGINT National Unit (ISNU). The documents were published in The Intercept by journalist Glenn Greenwald.

One document, dated April 13, 2013, shows that the NSA works with ISNU to collect and analyze raw data, including data acquired from US citizens. According to the document, the NSA “maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit, sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.”

“This SIGINT relationship has increasingly been the catalyst for a broader intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel.” “The Israeli side enjoys the benefits of expanded geographic access to world-class NSA crypto analytic and SIGINT engineering expertise, and also gains controlled access to advanced US technology and equipment via accommodation buys and foreign military sales.”

The same document shows that the NSA and the ISNU work together to acquire intelligence on targets in North Africa, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, South Asia and the former Soviet Union, sharing “a dedicated communications line” for the “exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence.”

“The single largest exchange between NSA and ISNU is on targets in the Middle East which constitute strategic threats to US and Israeli interests…Within that set of countries, cooperation covers the exploitation of internal governmental, military, civil and diplomatic Communications.”

Documents leaked by Snowden also expose the substantial support enjoyed by Israel from Western intelligence as it coordinates war crimes against the Palestinians.

During late 2008 and early 2009, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) subjected the Palestinian population to a massive terror campaign—codenamed Operation Cast Lead—US, British and Canadian intelligence engaged in extensive spying on specific email addresses and telephone numbers inside the Occupied Territories on behalf of the ISNU. GCHQ noted in an internal document that ISNU has “thanked us many times over” for intelligence provided during the assault on Gaza.

The documents also expose the joint efforts by the Israeli and US authorities to sabotage Iran’s uranium enrichment program and target the Assad regime in Syria. The document boasts that “NSA and ISNU continue to initiate joint targeting of Syrian and Iranian leadership and nuclear development programs with CIA, ISNU, SOD and Mossad. This exchange has been particularly important as unrest in Syria continues, and both sides work together to identify threats to regional stability.”

“NSA’s cyber partnerships expanded beyond ISNU to include Israeli Defense Intelligence’s SOD and Mossad, resulting in unprecedented access and collection breakthroughs that all sides acknowledge would not have been possible to achieve without the others,” the document states. “Target sets include, but are not limited to Iran Nuclear, Syrian Foreign Fighter movements, Lebanese Hizballah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps activities.”

Another NSA document leaked by Snowden highlights the involvement of Jordan with the machinations of US imperialism throughout the region. According to the document, the Jordanian Electronic Warfare Directorate (EWD) has maintained a “well established, long-standing and trusted relationship dating back to the early 1980s” with the NSA.

The EWD provides US and Israeli authorities “high-interest, unique collection on targets of mutual interest, such as the Palestinian Security Forces,” the document states. “EWD is the sole contributor to a large body of NSA’s reporting on this target.”



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