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NSA Shares Private Communications Of American Citizens With Israel

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

More than a year after he revealed details about the PRISM program, Edward Snowden continues to leak embarrassing details about NSA’s secret spying programs. In his latest revelation, Snowden has claimed that NSA shares private communications of American citizens with Israel. According to James Bamford, the bestselling author and journalist who regularly writes for New York Times, Atlantic and Harper’s; Snowden has revealed that the shared information included non-redacted communications occurring between Palestinian/Arab Americans and their relatives living in Israel or Palestine who themselves could then become potential targets for spying.

Snowden has disclosed that NSA routinely passes information to Unit 8200, one of the biggest and most prestigious divisions of IDF (Israel Defense Forces). According to him, these two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009 which allows them to share data with each other. Since Unit 8200 is involved in signal intelligence, eavesdropping and code decryption activities; the data provided by the American agency would allow it to expand its surveillance capabilities and spy on innocent citizens. As per Snowden, NSA shares data in the raw format (without removing names) and the shared information includes metadata as well as actual data collected through transcripts, telex, fax, gists, voice and digital networks.

Unit 8200 was in news recently for another reason. 43 members of the agency revolted against it and wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and military officials alleging that the unit uses the data it collects to maintain control over West Bank and Palestinian civilians and is also involved in the political persecution of Palestinians. The signatories revealed that the agency collects highly questionable data including financial problems, sexual orientation, medical conditions and infidelities from civilians in order to coerce them into becoming informers. They further state that the surveillance and spying tactics used by the unit are invading the privacy of civilians, creating divisions within the Palestinian society and even harming innocent civilians. The signatory members refused to take part in future surveillance activities and even pledged not to do military service. The allegations made by the signatories validate the claims made by Snowden.

In the document leaked by Snowden, NSA has listed Israel as a serious threat. Snowden reveals that the NSA in fact lists Israel as a threat in a number of areas including development of delivery methods for missiles (including nuclear-capable and ballistic missiles) and weapons of mass destruction. The document also states that the NSA considers Israel as a perpetrator of espionage and intelligence collection/manipulation operations against the American government, military and intelligence agencies. NSA even thinks that Israel is involved in significant manipulation of information to influence the opinion of American public in its favor.

The latest leaks by Snowden clearly show that NSA is using the private information of Americans not only for counter terror operations but also to gain political mileage. Since you cannot trust the government or ISP to protect your privacy, it is best that you start using privacy solutions like VPNs to secure your data and privacy on the web.

December 31, 2014

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