It is no secret that the US-Israeli relationship has been tense lately, especially after Israeli officials labeled Secretary of State Kerry an “anti-Semite.” Later Kerry would be recorded at a Trilateral Commission meeting warning that Israel could become an apartheid state.
But even during more cordial times Israel has seen the US as a key intelligence target and has found willing accomplices. One example that recently became an issue was Jonathan Pollard who gave US secrets to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst. At one point freeing him was seen as a way (strangely) to help the Israel-Palestinian peace talks.
And now, according to Newsweek, Israel is targeting America’s industrial and technical secrets in unprecedented ways.
Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”
The Jewish state’s primary target: America’s industrial and technical secrets. “No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do,” said a former congressional staffer who attended another classified briefing in late 2013, one of several in recent months given by officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence Directorate.
What is strange is that Israel and its advocates always represent the country as on the cutting edge of technology and research. Partnerships with Israeli tech companies are often highlighted as the benefit the country’s alliance brings to America.
For its part the Israeli embassy issued a flat denial to Newsweek saying “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”
The issue of aggressive Israeli espionage has been raised in relation to Israel lobbying to have its citizens visit the United States without a visa, a request that if granted would make espionage considerably easier.