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Monday, November 29, 2010

"We're tapping phone lines - I know that that ain't allowed"

From Ha'aretz:
The United States broke an Israeli code and tapped the secure phone line in the Israeli Embassy in Washington without Jerusalem's knowledge.

That revelation about Israeli-American relations did not come from WikiLeaks, but rather from former ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich, in a radio interview yesterday.

Rabinovich did not say exactly when the code was broken and when Israel found out about it, but it was understood from his remarks that the tap started after his 1993-1996 tenure in the U.S. capital and was discovered only years later.

The former envoy said that every staffer at the Israeli Embassy in Washington is warned about possible leaks of conversations held in the building and on ordinary phone lines, but also on the secure phone line.

After the Americans broke the code, Israel's deepest policy secrets were apparently exposed.

"Every 'juicy' telegram was in danger of being leaked," Rabinovich told Army Radio's Razi Barkai. "We sent very few of them. Sometimes I came to Israel to deliver reports orally. The Americans were certainly tapping the regular phone lines, and it became clear that in later years they were also listening to the secure line."
Imagine the outcry that would be sweeping the world now if it was Israel caught tapping US diplomatic phone lines.

It is no secret that allies spy on each other, and when such activities are caught, they are usually handled discreetly. But shouldn't Israel make a stink, just once, in order to get Jonathan Pollard finally released?