Israel decries U.S. snooping; presses for spy's release
December 23rd, 2013
01:53 PM ET

Israel decries U.S. snooping; presses for spy's release

CNN Justice Reporter Evan Perez

Israeli officials are protesting revelations of National Security Agency snooping on their leaders, while also taking the opportunity to press for the United States to release an Israeli spy.

Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel in the 1980s, is serving a life sentence for espionage; Israel has acknowledged he was an intelligence asset and has pushed for years to have him released.

The NSA allegations surfaced in the New York Times last week based on a leak from former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

After a few days of silence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a political party gathering Monday that he had asked the United States to explain the reports, adding that spying among close allies is unacceptable.

Netanyahu also said he met with Pollard's wife, Esther, to update her on efforts to win her husband's release.

Some U.S. observers found irony in the twin Israeli reactions.

Stewart Baker, a former Homeland Security official in the administration of President George W. Bush, called it hypocrisy.

"Israel has taken chutzpah to new heights - simultaneously demanding that the United States stop spying on Israel and that it release the guy caught spying on the United States for Israel," he said in a blog post on The Volokh Conspiracy.

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soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    Its all a smokescreen in my opinion – using this Israeli spy. I think I know what's up with this: USA holds this spy to force Israel to halt any construction in her land, or to force Israel to give the terrorists land in exchange for this spy. Our country needs a TRUE leader who respects Israel's right to govern, and to support her in any way we can. The Word of God basically says, 'those who bless Israel will be blessed by God.

    January 4, 2014 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Todd

      Top be honest, "using this Israeli spy" is not a TRUE or strong reason for halting Israel from doing anything. The "received an average of $3 billion in grants annually" from the United States. While I would say a life is worth all the money in the world, lets look at the fact that if we have one spy, they and the world may also be holding many of ours. It's a job with consequences and Israel has always been a strong 'allie' with the US and one of the largest precipitants of our AID. One last note, your comment "TRUE leader" is baseless here (I didn't vote for our current president), these programs have been in place for decades and enlarged encompass after 911.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  2. c wildschut

    Sure, it's hypocrisy over the top.
    But, the point is rightly made: spying on close allies ís unacceptable. Even if everyone would turn out to be doing so.
    It's the same as saying "I'm your friend" while taking his wallet.
    The extent to which the US is takings wallets is quite an offensive show of arrogance and yet another reason for about 4 billion people to be angry (and a bit jealous, maybe).
    It simply costs the US a lot of goodwill, which it may need later on. When the spending machine called the US is no longer financed by the European and Asian coutries, there will be a price to be paid.

    January 3, 2014 at 5:51 am | Reply
  3. wrmckinney

    I remember the Liberty, and Israel's killing of our sailors. How about a discussion of that with Bibi? How about jail for the perpetrators in Israel? We need to take our 14 Billion a year, and go home.

    January 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  4. attila

    They think they are special -- that explains everything.

    December 29, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • CharlieSeattle

      The rest of humanity is just jealous of their unity, education and drive.

      If they were a camel jokey tribe in the Sahara no one would care.

      January 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  5. attila

    It's always "what's good for them". They spy on everybody, so what's the problem.

    December 29, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  6. jboh

    We should be pressing for an honest answer for the Israeli murder of 30+ United States sailors on the USS Liberty. Until then, Nitwityahoo should butt out of U.S. politics.

    December 28, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
  7. Socrates

    Israel should stop stealing land from the Palestinians, at the same time, they complain to the people who give them 4 billions dollars every year. Natanjahu should get the money, says thank you and shut up.

    December 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  8. Norman

    That Israel bites the hand that feeds it is a well known fact.

    December 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • glennrobert

      Mr. Pollard is an American citizen tried and convicted of spying for a foreign power! Israel should butt out!

      December 27, 2013 at 2:54 am | Reply
  9. jimbo

    Be VERY careful, I posted a not Charlotte J didn't like and I just got struck by lightning... just sayin!

    December 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  10. jimbo

    Is it Carlotte J... or charlatan?? opps, I was just struck be lightning..my bad!!

    also, please note my comments on one of your previous sermons, ugh I mean posts

    December 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  11. jimbo

    Carlotte J... or charlatan?? opps, I was just struck be lightning..my bad!!

    also, please note my comments on one of your previous sermons, ugh I mean posts

    December 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  12. NorCalMojo

    We're Israel's last ally. They're not going anywhere.

    December 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  13. CharlieSeattle

    Israel: Do not spy on us!

    Israel: Please release our spy.

    Hypocrisy knows no bounds between allies or enemies.

    December 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • janric

      USA: you spied on us? We'll throw your spy in prison for a few decades. See how you like it.
      Israel (over two decades later): have you guys been spying directly on our ministry of defense while imprisoning someone for life for a lesser offense? Isn't that a bit of a double standard?
      USA: um........ OMG UR HYPOCRITES.

      December 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
      • CharlieSeattle

        Read the article again, slooooowly!!!!!!!

        Israel: Do not spy on us!

        Israel: Please release our spy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Hypocrisy knows no bounds between allies or enemies.

        Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel in the 1980s, is serving a life sentence for espionage; Israel has acknowledged he was an intelligence asset and has pushed for years to have him released.

        December 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • specialistn

      The hypocrisy goes both ways, Israel's spy was caught so the US throws him in prison, the US spies on Israel and then what? Who's paying the price for the US? All Israel is saying is to not punish them for spying on an ally if the US is going to do the exact thing to them.

      December 26, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Reply
      • glennrobert

        If it had been an Israeli spying in the U.S. for Israel we would have sent him home, not to prison!

        December 27, 2013 at 3:00 am |
  14. Percy

    Amazing how Israel can claim out rage because they say the NSA is spying on their leaders, but when it comes to their spying on the USA (J. Pollard), that seems to be ok with them, and they are demanding his release. Excuse me!!. HYPOCRITE'S

    December 26, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
  15. Mark

    Billionaire Arnon Milchen, the producer of Pretty Woman and Fight Club, just admitted to being a spy for Israel a couple weeks ago. He helped Israel to obtain nukes. Should also be in prison.

    December 25, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • CharlieSeattle

      If the USA gives nuclear and military info to Israel directly it looks bad.

      So lets call him a .....(ahem) an Israeli spy instead and pardon him later.

      It's a game of 3 Card Monte, politically speaking.

      December 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  16. USAPeasant

    Well at least Israel admitted it was spying on us too unliek the faux-outrage the Europeans have displayed.

    I say release their spy back to them since they caught us spying on them and tell them, sorry, but we're America, we're the nosiest people on Earth, we're gonna keep spying.

    December 25, 2013 at 2:06 am | Reply
    • Freedom123

      As far as I'm concerned we're even!

      December 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  17. OnTheRoad

    I seem to remember someone named Pollard that was a spy for some country, now what country was that, and who was his spying for? Let me think????

    December 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • janric

      You're kind of repeating the article. Only, y'know, passive aggressively.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  18. jpm224

    LOL Israel criticizing our intelligence agencies for spying? Meanwhile the mossad's putting bombs on bicycles and assassinating scientists...

    December 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  19. bernice

    LOL pigs ? Israel......did you know in general they do not eat Pork
    Israel is a STRONG nation whether you like it or not......

    December 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • Charlette Jordan

      Israel is God chosen people so you need to be careful how you put your mouth on God's people.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
      • Speedy

        Charlotte. I don't have a problem with your perception. But don't you think that if you are the chosen one by God you should behave like one?

        December 25, 2013 at 6:23 am |
      • jimbo

        Charlette J ....PLEASE!! the Muslims say THEY are the chosen people of God, The Christians do too, as do the Jews.
        More wars have been waged over this issue than any others. Is that Gods will or mans self-important image of his "chosen people?"

        December 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • CharlieSeattle

        lol, you are both wrong! there is not god, allah, santa claus or tooth fairy.

        “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
        Then he is not omnipotent.

        Is he able, but not willing?
        Then he is malevolent.

        Is he both able and willing?
        Then whence cometh evil?

        Is he neither able nor willing?
        Then why call him God?”

        Epicurus (ancient Greek philosopher)

        December 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Speedy

      Bernice with respect. It depends on your definition of strong! When you have a big brother that allows you to bully then my perspective gives a different definition. You remember a few years ago how the Lebanese trashed The Israeli army on the southern borders.? This was no fluke Bernice.

      December 25, 2013 at 6:20 am | Reply
      • Charlette J

        So how is that?but the thing is God is for them and whoever comes against them they will not win key point God is for
        Them you can't win when you go against God or someone that he is for that's a no win situation.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Grammy

        Thus Charlotte J come that stupid supersti tion that so many of our leaders in washington believe. They believe if we don't defend Israel then god will smite our country. I guess that's why they are still kissing Israels behind, and doing their bidding for them.

        December 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  20. Yuck

    Plain and simple"trust no one."

    December 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  21. amacd385

    OOPS! This seems to put Netanyahu and Snowden on the same side of the fence with respect to being upset with the NSA spying on folks outside the US headquartered Global Empire, eh?

    Or does it just mean that Snowden wants to expose the Empire, while Netanyahu wants to keep Israel's membership in the DGE (Disguised Global Empire) a secret??

    Snowden is not only a 'whistle-blower' on the NSA, but also on the Global EMPIRE behind the NSA & CIA & global finance & global corporations, & global media.

    NSA spying on all Americans (and every human being in every country
    on the globe) is merely the first recognition of only one of the
    police-state functions of just the 3rd, 'militarist sector', of the overall
    Disguised Global Empire, the integrated but hidden six-sectored Global
    Empire of; corporate, financial, militarist, media, extra-legal, and
    political Empire, that has 'captured' and now fully "Occupies" our
    former country (and others) by hiding behind the facade of its
    modernized and DUAL-Party 'Vichy' sham of democracy - just as surely
    as the earlier Nazi Empire tried less successfully to hide behind its
    crude and mere single-party Vichy facade regime in 'captured' and
    "Occupied" France during the Second World War of EMPIRES.

    Best to all in correctly diagnosing, exposing, non-violently
    confronting, surgically 'excising', and surviving the cancerous disease
    of Empire which is currently disguising a hidden tumor in our 'body
    politic'.

    Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire'
    educational and non-violent revolutionary movement against this
    deceitful and Disguised Global EMPIRE, which can't so easily be
    identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi
    helmets -- quite YET!

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
    Over
    Violent ('Vichy' disguised)
    Empire,

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

    December 24, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • janric

      Wow, how many more antisemitic tropes can you fit into one comment?

      December 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
      • ingorantq

        Please cure my ignorance.
        Is calling an Israeli rapist a rapist anti-Semitic?

        December 26, 2013 at 1:19 am |
  22. sgsdfgsdfgewrqwerqweyututuutty24242424

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    NO LES VAMOS A REGALAR NADA ESTE ANO SANTA CLAUS NO VA PARA USA POR VIOLAR A FABIOLA LEON.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:39 am | Reply

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    HAKEADA.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
  23. James

    1. Arafat
    2. Iraq

    December 24, 2013 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • leon

      For your information Arafat died from natural death it was proven by French investigators and even if he was assisnated there are no proof Israel killed him. As far as Iraq war; it was President Bush Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell who made that decision and none of the claim to be Israelis...so is there any more Propaganda garbage you have to share with the rest of the world Himmler!!!

      December 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • Speedy

        ........yes and AIPAC was begging Bush not to attack Iraq? You need to smell the coffee my friend. Right now Israel is obsessed with attacking Iran. But, it would not dare without big brothers support!

        December 25, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • janric

      1. [citation needed]
      2. [citation needed]

      December 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  24. joe d

    israel is the mentally retarded inbred red-headed pimple faced spoiled stepchild fo the U.S. and must be slapped upside it's ugly little head and kick th the curb. the pigs have brought us nothing but terror and have ruined our reputation all around the world. will the U.S. be the 110th country that these low-life pigs will be kicked out of......i hope so for the good of this once great country...flush them down like the feces they are......swoooooooooooooooosh

    December 24, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
    • Charlette J

      I don't know who you are,but you better be careful sir,and tread lightly be careful how you talk about God's chosen people have you not herd if God be for you he's more than the whole word against you.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Reply
      • aj

        ask ur god who this guy is. see if he cares

        December 25, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Speedy

        CharletteJ . There is a saying and I hope it does not apply to you. You are either brainwashed or programmed. I find it difficult to understand that in this day and age we have modern men and women talking about the chosen people, and allowing an illegitimate state to wipe out the indigenous population of their country. The Zoinists break every law of Moses and defied over 65 UN resolutions and other international treaties,so how can they be a chosen people to a Just God? I find this difficult to understand!

        December 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • Ajota

        Charlette, being a gods chosen people you must find it interesting that in reality human beings of all denominations and nationalities had to sacrifice their lives while your god stood by and watched you die.

        January 1, 2014 at 6:03 am |
    • oldsalt946

      Molon labe, Joey, molon labe...if you can.

      December 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  25. joe d

    Israeli pigs to the core..AIPAC and the pigs that support israel must go. the greedy self serving pigs have done more damage to the U.S. then all muslim terrorists combined...we should have let them burn...... in hell

    December 24, 2013 at 8:28 am | Reply
    • janric

      lol

      December 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Harry

      Joe: take your anti Semitic vitriol,elsewhere

      December 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  26. Steve

    chutzpah!

    December 24, 2013 at 3:16 am | Reply
  27. F.E. Hendricks

    Wow. All the foreign aid we've given them over the years (no strings attached). We give them technology...they sell it to the Chinese (or others). We get Jonathon Pollard in return. Ok...maybe NSA overstepped its bounds. Israel now acts indignant and wants Pollard released. What hypocrites. The support and trust we have extended to them in the past may not be warranted.

    December 24, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
  28. George patton

    they have rights to be angry

    December 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • Percy

      Come on, Geo. that's B.S.

      December 26, 2013 at 11:39 am | Reply
  29. Brian

    I am amazed at the hypocrisy of the Jewish government. The United States sends billions in aid annually to Israel; more than any other country in the world. In return we receive open disdain and no response when asked to reduce their open aggression against Palestine. It is time to stop sending our tax payer dollars to this country. If they want autonomy and freedom to bomb and assassinate at will, they can do so without U.S. support. Netanyahu is the problem.

    December 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • janric

      "In return we receive open disdain" (and military cooperation, use of Israeli facilities, and shared military intelligence, and exchanged technology, but hey, don't let your narrow understanding of U.S-Israel stop you from making declarative statements)

      December 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
      • joe d

        an israel first pig chimes in....save it bud. no one is buying the snake oil anymore

        December 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
  30. Andrey

    Are they surprised? I thought they were getting all unfiltered data that NSA collected: weren't they reading it all as they promised?

    December 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  31. HJA

    @leon
    The Mossad sent hit men to Norway to kill a "terrorist". They misidentified a waiter as the terrorist. Bang bang...so sorry my bad! Wrong guy. They were caught trying to cross the border.

    December 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • janric

      Waiters are political figures?

      December 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
      • HJA

        People are people.

        December 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
      • Google Me

        "Dubai Hamas assassination: Israel must explain role and fake passports, say Tories"

        December 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • janric

      The question was "can you name one political figure assassination by Israel?", but hey, keep moving them goalposts...

      December 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      • James

        Arafat

        December 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
      • SAWOLF

        Sorry Jimmy lifestyle(AIDS) took down the little egyptian, arafat.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • leon

      So are the innocent people killed everyday by US drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, what's your point ?

      December 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  32. WayneS

    About 2 years ago 5 Russians living in the United States: who were all Russian KGB operative spys were found by United States intelligence and what did we do.....Just send them back to Russia. Polland will stay in jail because he is a Jew. Snowden will get a slap on the hand and allowed back into the US. That's the way it is. US military top brass is Racist.

    December 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • Charlie Daniel

      what kind of proof can you offer on your "racist: claim of top mil leaders or does the S mean stupid

      December 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  33. janric

    I'm guessing that imprisoning someone for espionage while spying on their country isn't hypocritical at all...

    December 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Wrangle

      No its not. It's understood that countries spy on eachother. you cant get caught, if you do ofcourse youll be arrested.

      December 24, 2013 at 9:40 am | Reply
  34. f-102jock

    We borrow $3 Billion a year from China so we can send it to Israel; yet Mossad has plants everywhere in the U.S. Gov't (Treasury, Defense, the Fed, and Senate and House staffers) and our foreign policy is driven by AIPAC at the expense of the security interests of the U.S. Pollard was guilty but was just a sacrificial lamb to provide cover for the Israeli spy operations that have continued to flourish. A careful look is warranted into the lines of communication between Capitol Hill and Mossad using AIPAC as the go-between.

    December 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • SAWOLF

      Fighter pukes are so ignorant, the money isn't sent to Israel, it's spent in the US Defense Industry keeping production lines open.

      December 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  35. Random

    So I don't agree with the spying. We got threw a cold war cold because of spying. Israel I would like to see you less upset about that, perhaps cite boundaries rather than demanding we do nothing. As for the spy.... Come on USA. Let him go home.

    You both look like fools. We are allies. Quit complaining about spying , and detaining the others spies. Seriously feel like im on a playground in grade school here.

    December 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply
    • Juice

      He is home....he is an American.

      December 29, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply
  36. Jose

    What else would you expect? Israel is all about deception and hypocricy. It's whole histroy is one of deception from its beginnings in the 40s to today. Its ethnic cleansing policies towards palestinians, its manipulation of the US into wars, its illegal assassination of political figures, and its psychosis that internaitonal laws don't apply to it.

    December 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • leon

      Stupido jose
      can you name one political figure assassination by Israel?
      or which war did they force USA to fight for them?

      December 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Reply
      • James

        1. Arafaat
        2. Iraq

        December 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
      • Mike

        Leon,

        It's interesting that you dont even botherr to address jose's facts that they are etnically cleaansing palestinians or that they don't follow international laws.

        December 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • Charlette J

        Can you tel me who won when we teamed up with Israel
        .

        December 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
      • SAWOLF

        Jimmy, it's on record Sharon told Bush not to go to war with iraq, because sadam was a counterforce to iran.0 for 2 ,take some coursework in Geopolitics.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm |

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