Israelis have reputation, deservedly or not, for being a pushy, nosy bunch – presumably the byproduct of living in a familial country where everyone’s business is everyone’s concern. But, as highlighted in the latest of Edward Snowden’s ongoing NSA leaks, It’s not just the business of their fellow countrymen which Israelis have been privy too, it’s that of Americans’ as well. That’s because, since 2009, the National Security Agency has routinely shared “raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens.”
The Guardian reports:
[…] an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies “pertaining to the protection of US persons”, repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights.
But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive “raw Sigint” – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: “Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadataand content.”
Unsettling, to say the least – Particularly considering how touchy the US usually is when it comes to Israeli spying.
Still, there is a silver lining to all this: The next time your mother gets on your case for not calling your cousin Chayim in Tel Aviv, just her he’s probably already heard from you… one way or another.