Wednesday, 11 September 2013

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel


The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process "minimization", but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.

The deal was reached in principle in March 2009, according to the undated memorandum, which lays out the ground rules for the intelligence sharing. more

CIA documents reveal Israeli stockpile of chemical weapons


A newly-discovered document of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency revealed Monday by Foreign Policy magazine shows that the U.S. agency had decisive evidence dating back to at least the 1980s that Israel had a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

The revelation comes in the midst of the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on August 21st, although there is still no clarity as to whether the regime or the rebels carried out the attack, or whether it was an accident.

While U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to go to war with Syria over the attack, the Syrian government has denied responsibility, and has agreed to a proposal by the Russian government to open its stores of chemical weapons to international inspection and destruction.

The document revealed by Foreign Policy magazine on Monday shows that, in addition to building up a nuclear stockpile of an estimated three hundred nuclear weapons during the 1960s and 70s, the Israeli military also developed an extensive stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

The 1983 document stated that U.S. spy satellites had identified "a probable CW [chemical weapon] nerve agent production facility and a storage facility... at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev Desert. Other CW production is believed to exist within a well-developed Israeli chemical industry." more

Gaza shortages worsen as Egyptian government destroys tunnels


RAFAH, Gaza Strip – As part of a crackdown against Sinai militants, Egypt’s military-led government destroyed at least 40 smuggling tunnels over the last two weeks, according to officials in the Gaza Strip.

The move has exacerbated shortages in Gaza of construction materials and cheap Egyptian-produced gasoline, which are the primary products delivered through the tunnels.

Food, clothing and other consumer goods enter Gaza via Israel, supplying about 40% of the basic needs of Gaza, said Hatem Eweda, director general of Gaza’s Ministry of National Economy.

But he said the recent disruptions have put at risk about 60% of the territory’s daily commerce.

“We call upon brothers in Egypt to open the Rafah crossing for commercial commerce,” Eweda said.

Hamas, the militant group that has controlled Gaza since 2007, wants Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to commercial imports and exports, thereby eliminating the need for smuggling tunnels. more