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Snowden Leak Reveals NSA & Israeli Data Sharing

This isn’t going to go over well

Adam Chandler
September 11, 2013

The Guardian released a five-page memorandum leaked by Edward Snowden to reporter Glenn Greenwald detailing an agreement between Israel and the National Security Agency (NSA) from 2009 that would ensure data sharing between the two countries. From the accompanying story:

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 agreement emphasizes American rights to privacy under the Fourth Amendment as well as the protection of American citizens, but belying the former is language explaining that the data shared between the two countries would not be filtered “to remove US communications.” The document also references similar agreements involving Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, known along with the U.S. as the Five Eyes.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.