Our Sp(L)ying Frenemies
August 3, 2012 by Bob Livingston
There is no “space” between the United States and Israel. Politicians from both countries tell us this as regularly as they change their socks.
President Barack Obama stated on Dec. 16: “America’s commitment and my commitment to Israel and Israel’s security is unshakeable.” And then-President George W. Bush stated before the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel on May 15, 2008: “The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty.”
Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter in the United States: Politicians run to Israel’s side like dogs to fresh meat. With the campaign season in full bore, neither Obama nor Mitt Romney can do enough groveling.
Whatever Israel asks for, it gets; and it seems to never have enough. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel with $115 billion in assistance: mostly in the form of military assistance, but significant economic assistance as well.
In 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package with Israel. Now, Israel is asking additional defense appropriations. Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget includes $3.1 billion in foreign military financing for Israel and $15 million for refugee settlement. There’s another $99.8 million in the Defense Department’s budget for co-development of a missile defense for Israel. U.S. neocons are constantly harping for war on Israel’s neighbors on Israel’s behalf.
Israel, according to rhetoric coming from its government, seems determined to attack Iran. The United States seems determined to either attack Iran on Israel’s behalf, or provide the necessary assistance for Israel to do it. It’s difficult to tell which is the dog and which is the tail in this relationship.
The Associated Press reported on July 29 that the CIA’s Tel Aviv station chief had discovered “sensitive equipment he used (at home) to communicate with Langley, Va., headquarters had been compromised.” It had also happened to the previous station chief. Another CIA official in Israel came home to find the food in his refrigerator had been rearranged. The U.S. government believes Israel’s security services were responsible.
Before 9/11, the FBI uncovered a massive U.S.-based Israeli spy network. The network consisted of 100 agents posing as students or with ties to Israeli high-tech companies. They were sent to track al-Qaida terrorists on American territory without informing U.S. authorities and to spy on U.S. government officials. Fox News’ Carl Cameron reported that 60 Israelis nabbed were part of a long-running effort to spy in the United States. The network scrubbed the story from its website a day and a half later, but the story can be read here.
In 2005, the FBI’s “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage” report stated: “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.”
In 2011, former CIA counterintelligence specialist/military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi accused Israel of stealing everything it gets its hands on. It includes military and industrial secrets. In 2010, he wrote that Mossad agents regularly pose as U.S. intelligence agents and the U.S. Justice Department turns its head. FBI whistleblower John Cole claims Justice Department officials cite political pressure in dropping dozens of Israeli espionage cases.
The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division. The CIA ranks world intelligence agencies on their willingness to help America’s war on terror. Israel once fell behind Libya in that regard.
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev says Israel doesn’t spy on the United States. He lies. “Jeopardy” answer: Who are Ban-ami Kadish, Stewart Nozette and Jonathan Pollard?
Most Americans are convinced there is some Biblical duty to support Israel at all costs. This is a false narrative. America’s intractable support for Israel is driving us toward a war with Russia and China over Syria and Iran. Would a friend do these things?