Trying to combat published reports that the FBI has scolded Israeli diplomats dozens of times for spying on American intelligence since 9/11, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. said the allegations were baseless.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the former ambassador, Michael Oren, insisted the relationship between the two countries has been solid and was never compromised by unfounded claims of rampant Israeli spying.
Newsweek magazine published reports last week that Israeli officials were frequently spying on the U.S. and were summoned by the FBI dozens of times to knock it off.
“Beginning in the mid-1990s, well after Israel promised to stop spying in the US in the wake of the Pollard affair, the FBI regularly felt compelled to summon Israeli diplomats in DC for a scolding, two former top counterintelligence officials told ‘Newsweek.’ During the decade following 9/11, one said, the Israelis were summoned ‘dozens’ of times and told to ‘cut the shit,’ as one, a former top FBI official, put it. But as an ‘ally,’ the Israelis almost always got off with only a warning.”
While many Americans were watching a televised title bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier nearly 23 years, antiwar activists were breaking into the FBI office in Philadelphia and stealing confidential documents.
What happened that day was largely unknown until the author of a new book convinced five of the eight burglars to detail what happened, the New York Times reports.
The men and women, who can no longer be prosecuted, said they were motivated by the desire to expose the agency for using dirty tricks to spy on dissident groups.
They sent many of the records to newspaper reporters, unveiling widespread, extensive spying.
“When you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it,” said one of the burglars, Keith Forsyth. “There was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.”
As public pressure builds against the NSA over more revelations over international and domestic spying, lawmakers are considering major overhauls.
“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. “Modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough. We need real reform.”
Lawmakers are trying to expand the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies to make spying more seamless when a terror suspect enters the U.S., the Associated Press reports.
The idea is to close the gap between NSA and FBI electronic surveillance, which occurs because of different legal standards between the two agencies.
That gap poses challenges in keeping surveillance uninterrupted as suspects enter the U.S.
The AP reports:
The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told The Associated Press that her committee is drafting a bill that would amend the law’s Section 702 provision, which authorizes targeting non-Americans outside the U.S., to allow uninterrupted spying on a suspect for “a limited period of time after the NSA learns the target has traveled to the United States, so the government may obtain a court order based on probable cause.”
The proposed changes will include testimony from top intelligence officials.
A top Brazilian official has expressed anger over the U.S.’s secret surveillance of telephone and email conversations in his South American country, The USA Today reports.
Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said he’d learned that the NSA has subjected Brazilian residents to espionage through the widespread surveillance of phone and email records.
The USA Today wrote that Patriota and others are lobbying the U.N. to establish measures to protect countries from against unwanted surveillance.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded: “The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies in the Americas … While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
The Justice Department tracked a journalist suspected of receiving secret material related to possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, The Washington Post reports.
In addition to obtaining telephone records from James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News,, investigators used security badge access records to track the reporter’s traffic in and out of the State Department, the Post wrote.
Justice Department investigators also obtained a search warrant for Rosen’s e-mails.
This follows the discovery that the Justice Department also seized telephone records from the AP.
It appears some FBI agents are having a little bit too much fun on the job, internal disciplinary reports obtained by CNN show.
The reports indicate agents bugged a boss’ office, sent naked photos to co-workers, sexted on the job and paid for sex at a message parlor, CNN reported.
The FBI, whose motto is fidelity, bravery, integrity, has been dealing with “a rash of sexting cases” in which agents are using government-issued phones to send lurid pictures and suggestive texts.
“We’re hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people, as well as their supervisors … you can’t do this stuff,” FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN this week. “When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.”