Snowden: NSA gave Jerusalem its intel on Arab Americans

Allegations that Israel’s Unit 8200, is exploiting received NSA information it collected, to politically persecute innocent Palestinians.

By i24news


Former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden has accused the US National Security Agency of routinely passing private, unedited communications of Americans to Israel, an expert on the intelligence agency said Wednesday.

US National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden speaks to European officials via video-conference at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 24, 2014 Photo: Frederick Florin – AFP/File

James Bamford, writing in the New York Times, said Snowden told him the intercepts included communications of Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the information.

“It’s one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen,” Bamford quoted Snowden as saying.

Snowden said the material was routinely transferred to Unit 8200, a secretive Israeli intelligence organization.

Bamford cited a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart outlining transfers that have occurred since 2009.

Leaked by Snowden and first reported by the British newspaper the Guardian, it said the material included “unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content.”

The memorandum indicates the data is routinely sent in raw form, without editing out names or other personally identifiable information, Bamford said.

He noted allegations in Israel by veterans of Unit 8200, who in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week accused the agency of using information it collects to politically persecute innocent Palestinians.

The data gathered by the unit included Palestinians’ sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce them into becoming collaborators, they said.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, is wanted by the United States on espionage charges after leaking a mass of secret NSA documents.

The 31-year-old fugitive is in asylum in Russia, where he has been granted a three-year residency that allows him to travel abroad.

Bamford, author several books on the supersecret NSA, which specializes in electronic espionage and codebreaking, interviewed Snowden over a three-week period in Moscow for Wired magazine.

Spike in hate crimes in NY

Racist violence against Arabs and Jews has been on the rise in New York City, police said Wednesday.

While Hate Crime Task Force Chief Michael Osgood said the violence has a sporadic rather than a systematic character, it has been notably on the rise since the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have caught media attention in July. Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip is another factor in ramping up racial tensions, Osgood said.

“The root cause of the anti-Semitic increase is also the root cause of the anti-Muslim increase,” Osgood was quoted by the New York Post as saying. “This increase occurs after July 1st. Prior to July 1st, we were actually down since last year. On July 1st, the Gaza Strip becomes a major news story and stays persistent in the media through July and August.”

The crimes range from hate speech to vandalism and assaults.

So far 2014 has seen 89 suspected hate crime attacks, which represents an increase from 64 in 2013. There have been 17 reported attacks against Muslims, an increase compared to seven last year.


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