Why else would the GOP presidential candidate oppose US intelligence keeping an eye on Israel?

By David Corn
Jan. 8, 2016
Mother Jones.com

This week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) released a television ad that slammed President Barack Obama on several fronts: guns, abortion, climate change (it’s not a true threat), and the war on terrorism. In the ad, the almost-top-tier GOP presidential candidate proclaims, “America needs a real commander in chief and a president that will keep us safe.” And, as part of his indictment of Obama, Rubio huffs, “He spies on Israel.”

Rubio’s message seems to be that a strong and effective US leader would not spy on Israel, and that Rubio would not green-light espionage operations that keep an eye on that nation. No doubt, that would delight Israel and its spies, who have long targeted Washington with aggressive espionage operations.

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As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, the US intelligence establishment does snoop on Israeli officials. This has outraged conservative supporters of Israel within the United States. But what has such spying unearthed? That Israel spies on the United States.

That’s not news. Jonathan Pollard, an American who worked for Navy intelligence, passed a ton of classified information to Israel, in what experts routinely describe as one of the most significant espionage cases in US history. He was caught in 1985, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. In Israel, though, he was hailed a hero. And for years, Israel and some prominent Jewish Americans, including GOP billionaire Sheldon Adelson, pressed for Pollard’s release. (Two months ago, he was finally released on parole.) But Pollard was hardly the only Israeli spook who connived to swipe American secrets.

More recently, Jeff Stein, a veteran journalist on the intelligence beat, reported in Newsweek in 2014 that US intelligence officials discussed the issue at a top-secret congressional briefing, noting:

Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly…going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”

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