[Vision2020] The NSA is sharing data with Israel, before filtering out Americans’ information

Art Deco art.deco.studios at gmail.com
Wed Sep 11 10:11:34 PDT 2013

 The NSA is sharing data with Israel, before filtering out Americans’

By Andrea Peterson <http://wapo.st/15GaHsJ>, Published: September 11 at
12:37 pmE-mail the
writer<Andrea.Peterson at washpost.com?subject=Reader%20feedback%20for%20%27The%20NSA%20is%20sharing%20data%20with%20Israel,%20before%20filtering%20out%20Americans%E2%80%99%20information%27>

[image: (FILES) The National Security Agency (NSA) is shown in this May 31,
2006, aerial file photo in Fort Meade, Maryland. President Barack Obama
pledged an overhaul of US surveillance to bring greater oversight and
transparency on Agust 9, 2013, insisting he had no interest in snooping on
ordinary citizens after a public furor. Weeks after former US contractor
Edward Snowden revealed details of widespread US surveillance, Obama stood
firm in denying any abuse by the program but acknowledged that he needed to
address growing concerns.]

NSA headquarters at Forte Meade. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

In the months since Edward Snowden’s classified document leaks, the Obama
administration has repeatedly assured Americans that the National Security
Agency does not intentionally collect information about U.S. citizens. The
government has also said that when data are collected “inadvertently,”
because an American is in contact with a foreign target, the data are
protected by strict “minimization procedures” that prevent the information
from being misused.

New documents from Snowden reported by the
Wednesday appear to contradict those claims. They reveal that the NSA has
been sharing raw intelligence information with the Israeli government
without first filtering it for data on the communications of American

The relationship was described in a “Memorandum of
between the NSA and the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU). The document
is undated, but it refers to an earlier agreement “in principle” reached in
March 2009. The memo outlines procedures that should be taken by ISNU to
protect information regarding Americans and stresses that the
constitutional rights of American citizens must be respected by Israeli
intelligence staff.

According to the memo, NSA routinely sends ISNU “minimized and unminimized”
signal intelligence (sigint) data. In other words, the U.S. government
shares intercepted communications with the Israelis without first screening
it for sensitive information about Americans.

Israel receives data that “includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and
unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital
Network Intelligence metadata and content.”

The precautions Israel agrees to use for data on Americans are “consistent
with the requirements placed upon the NSA by U.S. law and Executive order
to establish safeguards protecting the rights of U.S. persons under the
Fourth Amendment,” the memo says. The Israelis also promise to use
“similar” safeguards for data concerning people in Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and the United Kingdom; all those countries cooperate closely with
the NSA. Israel also agrees not to deliberately target Americans whose
information they find in the data.

But these promises are not legally binding. According to the Guardian, the
memo states that “this agreement is not intended to create any legally
enforceable rights and shall not be construed to be either an international
agreement or a legally binding instrument according to international law.”

What’s also noteworthy is that the memo allows Israeli intelligence to
retain data they identify as belonging to Americans for up to a year. The
United States merely requests that they consult the NSA’s special liaison
adviser at the time they discover such data. But “any data that is either
to or from an official of the US government” is supposed to be destroyed as
soon as it is recognized.
 [image: Andrea Peterson]
 *Andrea Peterson * covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with
an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance
and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of
technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural

Art Deco (Wayne A. Fox)
art.deco.studios at gmail.com
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