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Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 at 4:25 AM
It doesn't surprise. On June 8, Haaretz headlined "What was the Israeli involvement in collecting US communications intel for NSA?" More on that below.
On April 3, 2012, James Bamford headlined "Shady Companies with Ties to Israel Wiretap for US for the NSA."
Two Israeli companies are involved. High-tech firms Verint and Narus have longstanding US/Israeli intelligence connections. For many years, Verint was a majority-owned Comverse Technology subsidiary.
Both companies have about half their employees in Israel. In August 2012, Verint acquired Comverse. It now operates independently.
It makes security software. It calls itself "a global leader in Actionable Intelligence solutions."
Narus calls itself a cybersecurity company. It's an independent Boeing subsidiary. It provides real-time network traffic and analytics software. It does so with enterprise class spyware capabilities.
In 1997, it was founded in Israel. It created NarusInsight. It's a supercomputer system. A previous article said AT&T uses it at their secret San Francisco facility. It lets NSA spy on its customers.
Verint's software also is used to do it. Bamford called it "especially troubling that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to (its) intelligence service."
A previous article discussed Israeli spying on America. The CIA calls Israel America's main regional spy threat. An Israeli-based CIA operative once found food in his refrigerator rearranged.
Washington knows what's going on. Publicly it's ignored. Pre-9/11, the FBI uncovered a massive US-based Israeli spy ring. It remains active.
It betrays America. Numerous Israeli citizens are involved. They have close ties to foreign military, criminal and intelligence sources. They reportedly breach US laws with impunity.
Israel's featured prominently in annual FBI reports. It actively seeks proprietary/secret US information. It's mainly on military systems and advanced computer applications.
Proprietary commercial and industrial data are stolen. Israel recruits spies. Sophisticated methods are used. Computers are hacked for information.
Washington's Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally."
The Pentagon accused Israel of "actively engag(ing) in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage."
FBI whistleblower John Cole said Justice Department officials ordered dozens of Israeli espionage cases dropped. At issue was political pressure.
Washington gives Israel billions of dollars in annual aid, state-of-the-art weapons and technology, and numerous other special privileges. In return, it steals US state and commercial secrets.
Despite longstanding close ties, Washington considers Israel both ally and counterintelligence threat. In terms of technical capability and human resources, it matches America's best.
It has access to the highest US political, military and intelligence sources. Bamford said NSA-developed advanced analytical/data-mining software was lawlessly given Israel.
An Operations Directorate technical director did so secretly. Apparently Israeli companies got access. Technology they got advanced their own.
Narus once boasted about being "known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world." Unexplained was that stolen software facilitates is capabilities.
Retired Israeli General Hanan Gefen ran its secret Unit 8200. It's Israel's NSA equivalent. He admitted Israeli ties to Comverse.
At the time, it owned Verint. It owns other Israeli high-tech companies. They specialize in eavesdropping and surveillance. They operate globally.
According to Gefen, the "correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental."
"Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans."
Kobi Alexander founded Verint. He formerly served as chairman. He's a fugitive. FBI accusations include fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and related crimes.
Two of his top Comverse associates were indicted on similar charges. Both were imprisoned. They paid millions of dollars in fines and penalties.
NSA claims it takes malfeasance and other legitimate complaints seriously. Spying technology and expertise take precedence.
Bamford says take NSA assurances cautiously. "Who's listening to the listeners," he asks?
Haaretz asked if Verint and Narus "collected information from the US communications network" for NSA?
Neither company responded when asked. Former senior NSA official-turned whistleblower Thomas Drake exposed fraud, waste, abuse and other lawless agency practices.
They relate to warrantless data-mining practices. In April 2010, he was indicted under the Espionage Act. Charges included "willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice, and making false statements."
After a May 22, 2011 60 Minutes broadcast, all charges were dropped. In return, Drake pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one year probation and community service. He lost his high-paying NSA job and pension.
On March 15, 2013, he spoke at the National Press Club. He focused on First Amendment rights. In part he said:
"The threats to the First Amendment by the government is bull’s eye-centered on a free unfettered press designed to suppress and repress speech and political expression in America, create fear through privilege and unilateral authority over what is fit or unfit for the First Amendment."
"If speech becomes the instrument of crime when revealing government crime and wrongdoing, we are under arbitrary authoritarian rule and not the rule of law."
"I can make an argument that government increasingly prefers to operate in the shadows and finds the First Amendment a constraint on its activities."
"And yet, taking off the veil of government secrecy has more often than not turned truth-tellers and whistleblowers into turncoats and traitors, who are then often criminally burned and blacklisted and broken by the government on the stake of national security."
"I knew too much truth and exposed government illegalities, fraud and abuse and was turned into a criminal for doing so."
"I was charged under the Espionage Act, faced many years in prison and became an enemy of the state."
"It was five years of living under the boot of the Surveillance State, and yet I was saved by the First Amendment and the court of public opinion and the free press, including the strength and growing resiliency of the alternative media."
"Do we really want the government listening in on and tracking the lives of so many others? Have our constitutional freedoms become the latest victims of 9/11?"
"Will national security replace our individual rights? Will fear take priority over freedom? Will government censorship and propaganda triumph over personal choice and disclosure, use suppression repression?"
"If we starve liberty for the increasingly myopic sake of security, what will we have left to defend?"
If truth-telling is criminalized, freedom no longer exists.
Drake corroborated information AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein and others reported. Spies "R" Us reflects US policy.
Drake verified NSA's use of Narus techology. Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collects intelligence from major US Internet companies. They do it via Prism electronic surveillance.
Officially it's called US-984XN. It's used for sweeping domestic and foreign spying. It's the main source for raw NSA intelligence. It's top secret for good reason. Now it's existence is publicly known.
Mossad's longstanding ties to Verint, Narus, and other Israeli surveillance technology companies assures it access to information they collect.
It's true wherever these companies operate. America has 16 active intelligence agencies. They operate the same way. Warrantless dragnet spying is lawless.
Freedom pays the greatest price. It’s disappearing in plain sight. It’s heading for the dustbin of history without legitimate resistance enough to stop it. Nothing less has a chance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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