Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), had alleged through his leaked documents that the NSA along with its British counterpart GCHQ monitored the email traffic of Ehud Olmert in last days of his tenure; others being intercepted were Ehud Barak and the Hebrew University’s Institute of Physics—a renowned center for research in atomic and nuclear physics, between the period 2008 and 2011.
Glenn Greenwald, the columnist who met face-to face with the Snowden as a writer for the Britain’s daily Guardian, said that there are more secrets related to Israel that are still to be divulged. Though not willing to part with any indicative stories, the writer did comment, “it is definitely the case that there are a huge number of very significant stories that are left to report” to the Channel 10 TV through a video link (I could not get the video link). The writer also mentioned that given the complexity and the volume of the leaked reports, it will be too early to conclude that all stories have been reported. “There are stories from the Middle East and Israel that will be reported in due time,” he added.
Israel downplayed the disclosures as if there was nothing new about the revelations and they were aware that the US embassy on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv served as a center for CIA agents under the cover of diplomatic immunity. However, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his displeasure quite clearly by saying, “there are things that must not be done” between allies. Senior Israeli officials also expressed their anger over the whole episode and the Israeli intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, told the Israeli radio, “This is not legitimate” and expressed the need for a bilateral agreement regarding espionage.
Espionage issue is quite a sensitive issue for both US and Israel because of Pollard, a former US Navy Intelligence analyst, who is serving a life sentence in the US prison since 1987, for passing classified material to Israel and spying for it. Pollard issue has been rolling back and forth between successive governments of both Israel and US. While Israel has been demanding his release for nearly three decades, stiff oppositions from the US military and intelligence prevented his release.
The Israeli officials also felt that the time is more than just opportune for release of Jonathan Pollard . Netanyahu, in contrast, asserted that Israel has been persistent in demanding Pollard’s release and was not dependent on any special occasion to initiate a discussion with US. Greenwald, against the recent revelations of US spying on Israel, commented that people are right in contrasting it with the Jonathan Pollard case because it underscores the hypocrisy of the US government.