The NSA Shares Intelligence on U.S. Persons with Its Israeli Counterpart

The National Security Agency regularly shares intelligence with its Israeli counterpart that could contain data on American citizens, according to a new report based on information disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

An undated memorandum of understanding between the NSA and an Israeli intelligence agency, provided to the Guardian by Snowden, reveals that the NSA provides its counterpart with intelligence data that has not specifically been filtered by analysts to remove communications by American citizens.

There are some protections for Americans’ data: The memorandum says that the intelligence must be dealt with according to U.S. law and frequently emphasizes American citizens’ constitutional protections. The Israeli agency also not to target Americans using the data. But the memorandum doesn’t place the Israelis under any legal obligation to follow its promises, emphasizing that it doesn’t constitute a legally binding international agreement. (It does also promise that the NSA will “regularly review a sample of files transferred to ISNU to validate the absence of US persons’ identities.”)

The memorandum, which indicates that the agreement was reached in March 2009, says Israeli intelligence may keep “any files containing the identity of US persons” (American citizens or permanent residents) for up to a year, but must consult the NSA’s special liaison whenever it identifies such data. The Israelis may “disseminate foreign intelligence information concerning US persons derived from raw [signals intelligence] by NSA” so long as they do so in a manner that doesn’t identify the persons in question.

Communications to and from the U.S. government – including officials from the executive branch, Congress, and the federal court system – are off-limits. Such communications are to be destroyed “upon recognition” of their nature, the memorandum says.

Most Popular


Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More