Why Is The NSA Sharing Data Of US Citizens With Israel?

I can understand why the NSA would share data and intelligence on terrorists with the Israelis. That makes perfect sense. But sharing unfiltered data of US citizens? Why would they do this?

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel that probably includes sensitive information about Americans, according to the latest top-secret document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The 2009 document, a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart, says the U.S. government regularly hands over intercepted communications that have not first been reviewed by U.S. analysts and therefore may contain phone calls and emails of American citizens.

The agreement allows for the possibility that intercepts given to Israel might include the communications of U.S. government officials, in which case Israel is supposed to destroy them immediately. Other data on U.S. citizens who aren’t in the government, however, can be kept by Israel for up to a year, according to the document, first published Wednesday by Britain’s Guardian newspaper. (Read More)

Who else are they sharing with?

Zero Hedge summarized the situation.

This is in marked contradiction to the Obama administration’s declaration that the data was secret and would never have been revealed to a third party outside of the USA. Today, it turns out that this is completely untrue. The deal was struck in March 2009 and has been going on extensively since that date. Caught red-handed, it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration gets itself out of this predicament and tries to back-track on its previous statements.

Israel is allowed to receive what is termed ‘raw Sigint’, or signal intelligence, including unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, facsimiles, telex communications as well as voice messages and Digital Network Intelligence. The date that is shared is not vetted before it is sent to the counterparts in Israel. There is an understanding that American citizens would not be used as targets by the Israeli administration. However, there is no legally-binding obligation that was included in the agreement to stop Israel from actually doing so.

It beggars belief that the NSA and the Obama administration should imagine for one moment that they would be able to occult the transfer of such data. Israel has also been allowed to release the data that has been passed on to them by the NSA to any third party that the wish to. So, not only have we been spied upon, but the NSA has revealed that data to Israel and that data can be used by anyone that Israel thinks fit. Neat!

Read the whole thing.