The Corner

Israeli Spy

The paleocon websites — yep, you bet I read them — have been going nuts

over this story of an Israeli spy in the DoD.

This strikes me as disingenuous. I have always assumed that every

country — including friendly ones — spies on the US govt to whatever

degree it can get away with. The value-added of having some advance,

unauthorized insight into US govt policy discussions is tremendous. Foreign

governments, friendly or otherwise, would be fools not to do all they can to

get insights into US policy.

This does not, of course, rule out the possibility — make that

“certainty” — that some foreign governments *are* fools. Still, if I were

elected Prime Minister of (say) Australia tomorrow, and discovered that the

country had no espionage network in place in Washington, I should be

furious, and would get a program started at once.

For Israel, whose actual existence as a nation might depend on US policy (as

in fact it did in 1973), there is no excuse at all not to spy on the US. An

Israeli government that did not spy on the US would be in very serious

dereliction of its duty towards its citizens.

Of course, if we catch someone spying for a foreign power — whether

friendly or not — we should throw the book at him. We are entitled to do

everything we can to protect our national secrets, and need not apologize to

anyone for that. But that is just the other side of the game.

To throw up your hands in horror on learning that some friendly country is

spying on the US is preposterous. Unless, of course, you have a heavy

emotional investment in the notion that lots of very senior administration

officials owe their true primary allegiance to that country…

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