The news came and went pretty quickly: Top government officials said Israel planted spy devices near the White House likely aimed at President Trump.
“The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter,” Politico reported Sept. 12.
“But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.
“The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as ‘StingRays,’ mimic regular cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.
“The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates–though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.”
“Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts,” Politico reported.
With a president who is notoriously lax in following security protocols for communication, the Israeli operation might capture all kinds of intelligence goodies.
But the sheer hubris of the Jewish state and President Trump’s instant denial that the Israelis did anything wrong would be stunning if it was not so much a part of the relationship between the Zionist nation and it’s best ally in the world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on the brink of a hotly contested election, issued an obligatory denial but it really wasn’t warranted as the American president wasn’t likely to do anything to make Israelis pay a price.
‘“The Israelis are pretty aggressive’ in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official.” ‘They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to achieve that objective,’” Politico reported.
So despite America’s staunch support of Israeli policies against the Palestinians, a refusal to call the country to account for any wrongdoing, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and trying to economically strangle Iran to the delight of the Jewish state, Israel still requires more? More information, more assurances, more knowledge and, perhaps, more ability to manipulate or impact U.S. domestic and foreign activity?
What kind of friendship is this and where will it end? Just as bad as the Trump non-response is the deafening silence of Jewish voices condemning Israel for spying on her benefactor when it comes to arms, money and shared intelligence.
“In addition to the political symbolism of the spying operation, the story also presents a financial irony. The surveillance devices planted around Washington are very costly and sophisticated, and not many governments have the resources and access required for such a programme,” The Independent, a UK-based newspaper observed.
“Dylan Williams, Vice President at J Street, a prominent Jewish-American organisation, said the spying was ‘one hell of a thank you note to American taxpayers for $3.8 billion of our money every year.’
“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that their hard-earned tax dollars generously given for Israel’s security–or at least Israeli funds fungible with them–are being used to spy on our country,” he told The Independent.
There was Israeli spying in 2015 as the Obama administration tried to hash out the nuclear deal with Iran and Israel’s acts should be seen as a clear betrayal of America.
Then there are the other episodes: Jonathan Pollard, who was an American civilian defense analyst, and sold secret information to Israel. He was given life in prison in 1987 but paroled in 2015. He delivered boxes and suitcases of documents procured while working at the U.S. Navy’s Anti-Terrorist Alert Center. When caught he would plead guilty to giving classified information to a foreign state. He was to be paid handsomely by Israeli agents for his work, some $30,000 each year for 10 years, plus $45,000 already in his pocket. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger called the Pollard escapade an incident in which America’s national security was seriously compromised and reportedly would have favored the death penalty had it been available. Also, the state of Israel granted the traitor citizenship in 1996.
Israel promised to never spy on the United States again after the Pollard scandal, but some promises are made to be broken, especially when there are no consequences.
Then there was an episode reported in 2000, where Israel was again caught spying and once again, little was reported in the media. “Israel has been caught spying in Washington again, this time on the White House and other sensitive telephone systems,” wrote Richard H. Curtiss for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
“But Americans have to look and listen very hard to learn the details. The damage could be as great as that sustained during spy-for-pay Jonathan Jay Pollard’s blatant military codes, plans and secret-stealing rampage of the 1980s. And probably greater than Israel’s stealing not only of U.S. nuclear secrets in the 1960s, but even of American enriched uranium via an Israel-controlled contracting firm in Apollo, Pennsylvania.
“Predictably, on the record the White House, Department of Justice and the FBI all are minimizing the damage, saying that although the investigation into Israeli eavesdropping on White House telephones ‘remains open,’ no one has been charged because no crime can be proved. But off the record FBI officials have confirmed to journalists not only the espionage, but details about the operation and the perpetrators. They are a married Israeli couple, at least one of them a Mossad member stationed in the Israeli Embassy in Washington and enjoying diplomatic immunity from arrest.”
“The story was broken May 5 in Insight magazine, a weekly supplement to the daily Washington Times, and on Fox News, a national television network. … ‘More than two dozen U.S. intelligence, counterintelligence, law-enforcement and other officials have told Insight that the FBI believes Israel has intercepted telephone and modem communications on some of the most sensitive lines of the U.S. government on an ongoing basis. The worst penetrations are believed to be in the State Department. But others say the supposedly secure telephone systems in the White House, Defense Department and Justice Department may have been compromised as well. ‘ ”
With friends like these, who needs enemies?