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Snowden Files Reveal: US, UK, Spied on Olmert, Barak

Uncle Sam and Uncle Jack just have to know some things.
The Kirya military base and its signature intelligence tower in the center of Tel Aviv are slated for dismantling over the next two years, leaving behind prime real estate for development. Altogether the IDF move is expected to generate 100,000 new housing units.

The Kirya military base and its signature intelligence tower in the center of Tel Aviv are slated for dismantling over the next two years, leaving behind prime real estate for development. Altogether the IDF move is expected to generate 100,000 new housing units.
Photo Credit: Yasmine Soiffer/Flash 90

Sometime, when you observe Shabbat while being employed by a newspaper, you pay the penalty of being way behind the rest of the gang. But since we assume our readers in Israel and the rest of the world are also Shabbat observers, welcome to this fresh bit of news, on the shelf barely since Friday:

British and American agents targeted the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak from 2008 to 2011, according to the latest documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published Friday.

According to the Guardian and the New York Times, the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ also spied on a senior European Union official, German government buildings, the UN Children’s Fund, French aid organization Médecins du Monde, the French oil and gas company Total, and the French defense company Thales Group.

Former PM Olmert’s office has stated that “if the details in the publication are accurate, we should emphasize that this was a public email address used by the Premier’s office to receive applications. The chance that a security or intelligence damage has been caused from hacking this email address is miniscule.

Of course, Ehud Olmert is the Administration’s go-to Israeli on attacking Netanyahu’s policies, both on Iran and the Palestinians, so it won’t pay for him to get all angry about his benefactors.

But other sources have been equally unperturbed—at least in speaking to reporters—suggesting the hacked emails were not classified and that any information in them could have been acquired through simply listening to the radio or reading the papers.

According to Israel’s Channel 2 News, Israel’s defense apparatus is going to demand clarifications from the U.S., especially to make sure the activity has stopped.

Speaking to Ynet, a Defense source said: “Wherever we are, we assume we’re being listened to and followed, be it in mobile phone conversations, or in hotel rooms abroad.”

Several Israeli news reports suggested sensitive conversations with Netanyahu are often interrupted by a switch to gestures only, nothing in writing, nothing over the email or texts – the PM doesn’t even have a computer on his desk.

That psychotic deaf interpreter from South Africa would thrive in that environment…

How about bringing back semaphore flags? Aldis lamps?



The same source said at least one prime minister has made it his business to plant misinformation in his phone conversations, to manipulate American policy according to his needs, making spying a double edged sword.

Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has also been spied on – while he is in charge of sensitive antitrust cases, including one against Google. Brussels reacted furiously to these revelations.

An NSA spokeswoman said the agency did not use espionage to help U.S. businesses.

“We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” the spokeswoman said.

That means, without a shred of a doubt, that they absolutely used their intelligence capabilities to warn Google about the stuff the EU has on them.

Old rule on knowing when the chief of police is lying: watch his lips very carefully, and as soon as they start moving – he’s lying. Works just as well for NSA spokeswomen.

In this case, though, I believe the NSA has exceeded the lying part and leaped into the chutzpa region, declaring: “The intelligence community’s efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities, are critical to providing policy-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security.”

It’s all part of our ongoing quest for knowledge, see?

Is there any law this administration won’t break, then lie about it, then be pressed to admit they were lying in the first place?

The European Commission would have none of it, of course, calling the revelation “unacceptable.”

“This piece of news follows a series of other revelations which, as we clearly stated in the past, if proven true, are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation,” their spokesman said. “This is not the type of behavior that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own member states.”

Of course, any discussion of the U.S. spying on Israel brings to mind the Jonathan Pollard issue, and whether Israeli leaders should not demand that America compensate Israel by letting the poor fellow go home.

Naturally, to do that, Israeli leaders need to want the poor fellow to go free…

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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16 Responses to “Snowden Files Reveal: US, UK, Spied on Olmert, Barak”

  1. Shalom mooi is de sneeuw

  2. this is a treason from united state betray Israel this message is for Mr. Netanyahu read yirmeyahu 17:5 pls do not trust in human trust in the lord

  3. Bob Hathaway says:

    This is nothing new. Condi Rice ordered the CIA to create personal files on everyone of importance in Israel and then used it to blackmail them in negotiations. She was every bit as devious as obama.

  4. Lesley Sinclair says:

    There is nothing new under the sun – especially when it comes to Israel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    In 1967, the U.S.S.Liberty was spying on Israel during the War and the information was passed to the Egyptians.

  6. Sara Engel says:

    agree.

  7. Time for that fact to be made widely known to the USA citizens who have always condemned Israel for attacking their ship.

  8. Of course Pollard still languishes in a US prison.
    If he is released, he will be able to expose the US for their spying on Israel, and other countries, which will hurt their "good name"

  9. Roslee says:

    I can’t believe US and UK spying on the Israel.A very close and friendly ally like Israel is monitored this mean no trust on the country by western countries.

  10. and that idiot ehud olmert was busy saying how marvelous america is and how we should give away the land quicker for our friends america.. and barak the arrogant fool .. why look how much the usa loves you honey. the same people sellign us out where being spied on by their lovers… ha ha ha.. wake up israel america is not our friend.. get real.

  11. Lynn Davis Hathaway says:

    A true friend does not stab the other in the back.

  12. Yechiel Baum says:

    time to put an iron dome around the US, UK and other Embassy and consulate to avoid any communication until it passes Israeli censors.

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