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Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House (politico.com)
339 points by spzx 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 315 comments



It's not like the Israelis haven't done this before and not paid any consequences for it.

2000: https://www.wrmea.org/000-june/despite-coverup-israel-caught...

2015 caught greasing politicians: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-net-on-israel-snares-co...

2011: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/us/08spy.html

2015: https://theintercept.com/2015/03/25/netanyahus-spying-denial...

2014: https://www.newsweek.com/israels-aggressive-spying-us-mostly...

1999: https://nypost.com/1999/03/03/israel-blackmailed-bill-with-m...

2019: https://thebulletin.org/2019/02/trained-in-israeli-intellige...

2018: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-firm-bl...

2018: https://www.thenation.com/article/how-israel-spies-on-us-cit...

First page of a google search on "Israel spying on US" excluding last few weeks.

This one's my favorite though: Netanyahu and some Hollywood freak were apparently involved in stealing atomb bomb triggers from the US:

https://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nucle...

I mean, they're in non compliance with the NPT, so they shouldn't receive any foreign aid, but good luck on that.


Without support from the USA, it would not be possible for Israel to defend itself. Much of their spying on the USA is not to harm the USA, but to ensure the USA is still on their side. I don't think they want to hurt the USA, but I do think they would support an opponent of a politician that had been "heard" expressing a lack of interest in financial and military support for Israel.


Well, they regularly sell US secrets to China, so I don't think they really give two shits about "hurting the US."

Examples:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/israel-accused-of-s...

https://www.military.com/defensetech/2013/12/24/report-israe...

I could be wrong! Maybe selling US secrets to china is to ensure the USA is still on their side? I'm not a politician; it's above my paygrade.

Somehow other US allies don't have these sorts of "hey let's spy on our friends" impulses. FWIIW the US just had an all-hands freak out over Russia spending a few grand on FB ads during the last presidential election; I'm pretty sure if it ever got out what the Israelis are doing out in the open to influence US elections (such as attempting to kick Israel critic politicians out of office), that would do even more harm to US-Israel relations than any single politician could.

I also think they can do just fine without US support. They have Jericho missiles capable of reaching LA. Technically this makes all US financial support of Israel illegal. I mean why would they risk all that needed support and build nukes capable of blowing up the US?


Your first link doesn't say they sold US secrets, just technology US firms weren't allowed to provide. They have an extensive domestic tech industry and due to their history quite a large defense industry as well.

The second link is as advertised though - however the person responsible did resign (assuming it wasn't some broader conspiracy).


Actually the first link says " the Israeli exports include military technology developed by the US, and which Washington expressly forbids from being exported to China." Arguably the only reason they have a large defense industry is the billions of dollars the US gives them to subsidize it. Yet somehow those billions are never at risk when they do shady things like this.

I could probably dig up a half dozen examples of this; I try not to pay attention to politics, but I am old and every time I hear this story again I figure we couldn't possibly have any secrets left for the Israelis to sell to China.

Heres one: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175404

Moar examples: https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/06/06/how-israel-h...

Denying this is kind of like denying the sky is blue.


Your are clearly biased against Israel denaying this is like denaying the sky is blue.

Try running google search on <Britain> exporting military technology hurts USA, substitute Britain with any other country. You'll be surprised. There are certain people who would just jump on any opportunity to paint Israel in a bad light and exaggerate any negative news. Many of your sources quoted in your first post are blatantly against Israel. Please, don't turn Hacker news into a platform promoting a certain political sentements.


>Your are clearly biased against Israel denaying this is like denaying the sky is blue.

Oh, the irony


> I'm pretty sure if it ever got out what the Israelis are doing out in the open to influence US elections (such as attempting to kick Israel critic politicians out of office), that would do even more harm to US-Israel relations than any single politician could.

If they do it out in the open? Netanyahu openly snubbed Obama on various occasions and very publicly sided with conservatives. And with Trump he basically flaunts his partisanship. More importantly, there's a whole subculture in D.C. of Israeli and pro-Israel lobbyists which over the past couple of decades have become quite partisan. It's all out in the open, it's just very difficult to articulate because of anxieties over anti-semitism.

Similarly, but more positively, as I remember it Ariel Sharon quietly (but not secretly) came out against the Iraq War--not the bombing, just that he foresaw chaos from invasion and an attempt at nation building--and made this known to various politicians and leaders in Washington, including President Bush. Though, according to Wikipedia Sharon was far more equivocal and his opinions weren't made known publicly until years later. (Can't be bothered to confirm the accuracy of my memory.)


'Somehow other US allies don't have these sorts of "hey let's spy on our friends" impulses'

Pretty much any US ally with a functional intelligence capability spies on the US. And we spy on all of them. And it's not always for traditional diplomatic or political purposes. Some governments, such as France's, have a tradition of aggressive espionage to get a commercial advantage for domestic corporations.


So, their spying is justified because they need to know in advance if US politicians wouldn’t fully support a potential WWIII-esque intervention on their behalf, ostensibly so they could throw their own support behind a different US politician?

And this is ... not viewed as insane by normal people?


I'm not justifying it. I'm explaining Israel's rationale for doing it.

I am staunchly opposed to national borders. I don't think it's right to discriminate against people for where they are born.

IMO, all human beings should be allowed to freely travel and work anywhere on planet earth.

EDIT: Or outer space for that matter...


>I am staunchly opposed to national borders. I don't think it's right to discriminate against people for where they are born.

National borders are not about "discriminating against people for where they are born", anymore than your family house discriminates against people based on which family they were born into.

One would assume you don't just let anyone in your house, or feed everybody just like you do your children, or share your family assets with the whole neighborhood (even if it would be nice if you did, it, for one, would live less for you. Plus, not everybody is nice and altruistic, but most manage to be that towards their family).

People build a nation as a community, often fighting hard for it to exist (e.g. wars of independence), working hard to make it better, building it's culture, and so on. They have a right to want to preserve their preferred way of life, their culture, and the country/infrastructure/etc they have built (of course not everything is always harmonious inside a nation, the same way things are not all roses all the time inside a family. No human made thing is perfect - and no natural made thing, for that matter).

If nations did not exist, people should still have the right to invent them, that is, to create their own communities with people they share their living on a place, hardships and culture with, build their own thing, and protect it against people who don't share their values or haven't contributed to building them.

In fact nation states didn't exist in the far past, they are a development of enlightenment and modernity. We had empires, and feudal fiefdoms loyal to some remote king, and such before, and people literally struggled to break their pre-nation-state nations (ethnic, cultural and historical groups) free from them...


> National borders are not about "discriminating against people for where they are born"

They might not be about that, but they do that. Why do I deserve good healthcare, food, housing and a great quality of life and someone born in Syria doesn't?


>Why do I deserve good healthcare, food, housing and a great quality of life and someone born in Syria doesn't?

For the same reason your spouse "deserves" sitting on the couch you got at home eating something from the fridge and somebody you don't know outside doesn't, and you don't consider it much of a discrimination.

Because e.g. it's your house, you've built it (a nation is something people build, over centuries and generations, often with huge sacrifices, not something they merely rent), you've stocked it, you paid the taxes for it, etc. And you might, or might not, accept someone in it.

Why doesn't the same-nation homeless person outside "deserve" good healthcare, food, housing? Why not fix their situation before you solve that of "someone born in Syria"?

Probably because the latter just seems of no cost (just let them in), whereas the other one understands that involves some sacrifices (share income, increased taxes for social welfare, etc, etc).

And for a large (land-wise) nation state, like the US, with tons of recent 1-2-3 generation immigrants, many people tend to think it's inexhaustible and can accommodate everybody with no problem. And new/newish (1/2nd gen) immigrants now citizens wont understand whats the big claim of those whose ancestors built it over time, sacrifices to sustain it, etc anyway. After all they came there when it was already prospering. It's more like a hotel to them. This is quite more obvious in a more historical country with more homogenous population, which lived there and built it over many centuries or millennia.

And yet, one of the reasons the people several generations ago built it (the nation state), was to have a place of their own, where they live as they see fit (because they were persecuted in their own places), and be able to deny access to it to others outside -- and occasionally invite whoever they like, as long as they play with their rules/laws.

Also, notice how the direction is one way? Not many Americans want to go to Syria or Nigeria or Lagos or whatever. Seems people, ideologies, bad history, etc can screw up a nation state and its prospects, so they're not all interchangeable. That's part of what makes having a good nation state valuable, and wanting to maintain it that way (and not just make every country an open borders free-for-all).


Because your predecessors worked to build that for you and their fellow people. Why do you think parents pay for their children's education. Why do you think many don't just provide the minimum, but instead go beyond that?

You did not do anything to get that. But your parents, their parents and those who came before them did, with the intention that you would.


I understand your arguments. I'm not discounting them. I am saying I don't agree with them. It sounds dangerously like when I was just out of college and I didn't understand why something in the company was done that way and I would get a response like, "Because that's the way it's always been done."

Folks in Tuvalu are going to lose the entirety of their geographical boundary to the sea.

I don't see why people should be kicked out of a country because they were born in another country. The whole concept of "illegal immigrant" just seems so ... medieval. Someone isn't allowed to live and work in a land because they were born across an imaginary line in the sand?

I don't get it


>I don't see why people should be kicked out of a country because they were born in another country

One good way to "get it" is to go try stay in their country, without following their due process to become a citizen, and see what happens.

A similar good way, is to go live in different countries for a while (try Syria too), and see what ideas some people have about running their countries, and consider whether you'd like people with such ideas to be a sizable minority or even majority in your country.


>I’m staunchly opposed to national borders...

Not sure what that has to do with this at all? It definitely sounds like bourgeoisie/boutique political signaling though. Only those with a certain level of privileges can make platitudes like that while the rest of us deal with the real world ... where borders clearly matter.


I'm not sophisticated enough to know what political signaling is, so it might be that. I don't know.

What it has to do with it is that I can't justify nations spying if I don't think there should be nations. We are all people.

No one chooses where they are born, their race, gender, etc. If it's wrong to discriminate for things over which we have no control, then I believe place of birth is no different than race or gender.


>if I don’t think there should be nations.

I’m saying it takes an absolutely unbelievable amount of bourgeoisie privilege to think this. It’s an idea that’s so naive it’s not even worth engaging on the merits, which is why I pointed out that people in certain social and political groups make utopian platitudes like this as a mechanism to signal how elite they are. Kind of like how people pretend to like “modern art” in order to look “cultured”.


I don't know why you think it takes privilege to think this. If I was born in very bad country, I would still think it isn't fair that some people have a better life just because they were born in Norway or USA or Canada.

I'm not making these statements in order to look anything. It's just what I believe based on my observation of the world around me.

I don't even know what bourgeoisie privilege is.


If you are looking around your personal space and thinking “gee no borders would work out great” then you’re living in the very definition of bourgeoisie privilege.


That doesn't make any sense.


To you.


You're speaking from the perspective of a theaticlastic denomination, so it's hard for you to accept another perspective. You have an idea in your mind and it makes sense to you, but you can't explain it or define it.

You're saying it is because it is. It's that way because it's that way and because I believe something, it proves it is that way.

But my belief could be held by someone in a completely different nation experiencing a completely different life, so you haven't added anything to the discussion.

You can't just say, "You're wrong because you believe what you believe and that proves it."


You’re right, I did try to Kafkatrap you there.

But again I’m not interested in debating open borders on the merits because I’ve been to plenty of places that are ... not nice and not having a border between us and them is a recipe for Civilizational collapse.

>theaticlastic

Never encountered this word before.


The No Borders belief is very idealistic. How does that work with state benefits like universal healthcare? And taxes? Yes it would be nice to be able to pick up and live/work anywhere but it's not as simple as one might think.


Why are nations geographical? Corporations are not bound by borders. You get benefits from your employer. You pay for insurance for the insurance benefits. If you don't work and don't pay taxes, you still get benefits from the govt just because you were born there. There's no need to earn anything.

It's all just random chance and it seems very unfair to me that being citizen of a first world nation affords you a good quality of life, while someone born somewhere else has bombs going off outside and isn't allowed to leave.

Imagine being trapped in a horrible situation with no freedom to escape.

It's not right. Nation states are anachronistic at best.


>Why are nations geographical?

The same way family houses are geographical. Because the people in them live on some place, cater for it, historically inherit it, and do as they please inside their own premises.

Nations are groups of people who grew in the same area, had gone through the same historical experiences (e.g. attacks, famines, wars, etc), worked together to make their place better, and built their culture and cultivated their ways of life over centuries, often making heavy sacrifices to free and keep their land...

>Corporations are not bound by borders

Corporations also don't belong to their "citizens" (employees) but to the few owners/shareholders, are not bound by democracy (they are despotic kingdoms internally), and only care for profit, and would "exile" (fire) any number of their "citizens" (employees) if the profits said so. So not the best example to base social paradigms on...

>It's not right. Nation states are anachronistic at best.

According to most scholars, the nation state is a product of enlightenment and modernity.

We had empires before.

And federal like unions, are just nation states minus the political autonomy (sovereignty), so decisions are made by some bureaucrats away from where it matters.


> Imagine being trapped in a horrible situation with no freedom to escape.

If you look at the people who are traped like that, it's because their nation state failed.

They mostly want to migrate to places with strong nations states, why do you think that is ?

It's because strong nation states, can create good living conditions.

That said that doesn't mean many of us couldn't take a lot more immigrants than we currently do.

People tend to forget, the only guarantee that you are born with is that one day you will die.

Every other privilege, right or whatever you want to call it was fought for (often quite bloody ) and build by societies, and nation states are latest iteration of societies.

Is that fair? No. But that is life.


> How does that work with state benefits like universal healthcare?

It would presumably work like it does in the EU presently - a agreement to provide care for any EU citizen reciprocally regardless of which country they reside in, with some very basic residency requirements to cut down on health tourism (3-6mo residency normally).


I don't even think the motivation is primarily about maintaining military support - it's already a given. Even if the US political regime swung far to the left, there's simply no chance they aren't going to bat for Israel in an full scale military conflict. I suspect their spying is much more motivated by anticipating and influencing political and economic events or policy that they have second order interests in - ie trade policy, foreign investments, relationship with China, etc.


Every country spies on every other country to the extent that they have both the capability and the vested interest in doing so. Most countries even spy on themselves, partially in order to figure out what other countries are spying on them. There are consequences if you get caught, but the first rule of spying is not to get caught.


When you phrase it as an existential threat (and WWIII-esque originating in the Middle East would be) like that then, no it wouldn't seem insane, pragmatic isn't the right phrase but real politik is.


>if US politicians wouldn’t fully support a potential WWIII-esque intervention

It's amusing but that's not even the real concern. Israel, Iran, the US and the world all know perfectly well that there's no existential threat to Israel.

The more immediate concern is as always Israel-Palestine issues. The multi-decade rightward shift in Israeli politics has culminated with the Trump administration, where they are trying to annex as much Palestinian land as possible.


> where they are trying to annex as much Palestinian land as possible

FIFY: where they are trying to annex as much Palestinian oil as possible

Genie Energy’s strategic advisors is the who’s who of your typical movie villains: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genie_Energy


Obama/Kerry did the Iran nuclear talks and did not invite Israel. Israel deems it necessary for survival to know everything and all they can about Iran. So they (and other capable agencies) basically bugged an entire hotel.

> When the talks shifted to a luxury hotel in Vienna, the microwave radiation from the surveillance efforts of competing intelligence agencies was so intense that diplomats had to walk some distance from the venue to use their mobile phones.

The new US administration, like Israel, very much opposes the nuclear deal. Trump may give the Israelis a proverbial "wildcard" to deal with a certain problem in a private conversation with an advisor. Or he, or the new administration start to hold a more favorable view on an Iran deal. Israel needs to know this as a manner of their national security.



> Without support from the USA, it would not be possible for Israel to defend itself.

That is simply plain wrong.

Maybe they couldn't defend against the uncountable human rights accusation and other countries putting international pressure on them.

Maybe not under their current polices, ie forced land acquisition, forced demographic change and so on.

> Much of their spying on the USA is not to harm the USA, but to ensure the USA is still on their side.

In many ways that makes it worse.

> I don't think they want to hurt the USA, but I do think they would support an opponent of a politician that had been "heard" expressing a lack of interest in financial and military support for I don't think they want to hurt the USA, but I do think they would support an opponent of a politician that had been "heard" expressing a lack of interest in financial and military support for Israel.

They do that literally every day. This is quite well known and well document. You can actually go and read the stories from the congress-man who opposed Israel and what that actually means in practice.

They also heavily influence things like who is appointed for diplomatic and other positions.

They are currently very much directly influencing the democracy of the US so it will act with their foreign policy goals to the clear determent of actual US strategic interest.


Let me get this straight: Israel risks pissing the U.S by spying on them, which can lead to them cutting ties with Israel, in order to make sure that US does not cut its ties with Israel. Would you risk spying on your girlfriend to make sure she wants to stay your girlfriend? This makes no sense.


> Would you risk spying on your girlfriend to make sure she wants to stay your girlfriend? This makes no sense.

It's interesting that you mention that one, because that is exactly what people sometimes do. You will find that very needy or jealous people frequently get easily concerned and obsessive about every little detail, worried that their partner may leave or lose interest. They get paranoid, they spy, etc. They make the situation worse, push the person away faster with their behavior, and create a self-fulfilling prophecy outcome.

You might risk spying on your significant other (to make sure they're going to stay your SO), if your life depended - in part or entirely - on them staying your significant other. In relationships that's going to rarely be the case of course. Although consider a case of total financial dependency in a relationship.

Israel is the very needy, dependent partner in the relationship, clearly. Without the US, they would not have survived.


There's not actually any risk, as plainly evidenced by the fact that the State Department has never even given a light wrist slap for any of the dozens of incidents mentioned in the top comment, under Bush, Obama or Trump. There's literally nothing Israel could do to cause the US to "cut ties", let alone even meaningfully rebuke them. Like his buddy Donald, Bibi could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave and nothing would happen. US security and energy interests are simply too entrenched in supporting Israeli hegemony.


Every nation collects dirt on every other nation if they have the manpower and funds to do it. You can be sure there are British and French spies in the USA as well as the obvious Russian and Chinese ones. and Vice Versa as well of course.


> Would you risk spying on your girlfriend to make sure she wants to stay your girlfriend?

I mean, lots of people do exactly that. It ain't healthy to do, but they do it anyway.


The US is not a single person, spying on one doesn't bother the other.

But in general the US doesn't really care if Israel spies on it, and Israel doesn't care when the US does.

All countries spy on each other, and all countries know it. There's a tacit agreement to make some noise when it goes public, but otherwise move on and not care.


> Without support from the USA, it would not be possible for Israel to defend itself.

Why should we care as US citizens?

> I don't think they want to hurt the USA, but I do think they would support an opponent of a politician that had been "heard" expressing a lack of interest in financial and military support for Israel.

I don't think we'll ever see that here in the U.S. unfortunately...the "Israel Lobby" wouldn't let it happen.


For USA citizens who are Jewish, they want their homeland to continue to exist. For the military industrial complex, they see it as jobs and profit. For the politically minded, they might prefer to see democracy prevail.


Is it just me or does that sound an awful lot like a foreign government interfering in U.S. elections?


AIPAC is a much more overt and pernicious form of a foreign government interfering in US elections. They donate money to many US politicians, and actively setup campaigns against those they don't like, such as Ilhan Omar. It's far worse than anything Russia has ever done. And it's out in the open, so people somehow assume it's OK.


To be fair, a lot of Americans support AIPAC, either from ethnic solidarity, Christian dispensationalism, or just because they like Israelis. But they've certainly been involved in some shady stuff which should merit them being registered as Foreign Agents.

FWIIW the FARA act was passed in 1938 because of fascist and Nazi groups like the German American Bund interfering in US elections. Maybe as time goes by, AIPAC will become about as important in US politics as the German American Bund.


AIPAC is an American Organization. Composed of Americans. Why on earth should they register as "Foreign Agents?"

You may not like people because of their religion or nationality, but they are allowed to have a lobbying and education organization without an accusation of not being real Americans.

Politicians can choose to listen to them or not, just like the NRA, the American Cancer Society, and the AARP.


>Why on earth should they register as "Foreign Agents?"

For collaborating with a foreign power in attempting to influence US policy. Here's a former director of AIPAC saying just that (in, mind you, the Jewish Daily Forward): https://forward.com/opinion/395676/its-time-for-aipac-to-reg...

The German American Bund was also an American organization made up of Americans ... and getting its marching orders from abroad in service of a foreign regime. That's why we passed the FARA law in 1938 in the first place. Foreigners are not supposed to influence US elections. Everything you have said about AIPAC applied to the German-American bund when they passed the FARA law. Neither the NRA or the American Cancer Society are advocating for policies for benefit of a foreign power: the German American Bund used to do this, just as AIPAC does today. If you don't like FARA, lobby to get it revoked. I'm sure that will go over well after the Russia hysteria.

There's also the example of the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal of 2003 for shady AIPAC doings beyond this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Franklin_espionage_sc...

AIPAC were pressured to register as foreign agents back in 62, but Kennedy being shot kind of pushed that aside. Ended pressure on them to stop their nuke program as well.

https://www.israellobby.org/azcdoj/default.asp


[flagged]


Um, OK I guess stating historical facts is insane and full of hate. Would you like to clarify your statement or are you comfortable denouncing me for knowing my history?

Citations were provided for every factual statement I made.


You seem to be the one full of hate, using angry labels rather than addressing the comment.


Israel did worst than just spying on the US government https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident. Now the official investigation concluded that this was a result of an unfortunate mistake, but survivors and others maintain that the ship was deliberately targeted.


>Without support from the USA, it would not be possible for Israel to defend itself. Much of their spying on the USA is not to harm the USA, but to ensure the USA is still on their side.

Well, who said the USA being "on their side" is not harmful for the USA?


Nonetheless that’s exactly what we blame Russia for. Obviously many countries actually do try to monitor and influence. But of course there is a difference between friendly-fire and enemy’s fire.


"I don't think they want to hurt the USA, but I do think they would support an opponent of a politician that had been "heard" expressing a lack of interest in financial and military support for Israel."

Probably this. And they likely act with their friendly party in the know. "Feel free to keep an eye on your wife using my car when I'm away. But if she or anyone else catches you, I won't know who you are and will report a stolen car".


Completely untrue. Israel has great relations with China and India.


Yourlist.append(https://archive.org/details/israeli-spying-in-united-states.) Above is the strange Carl Cameron story that disappeared. Mentions Amdocs and Infosys and other interesting things. I'm very surprised that the video works on archive.org.


All currently nuclear armed nations are in violation of the NPT, so...


> The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind

> But unlike most other occasions

I don't know if im spoiled by Wikipedia, or jaded from age, or wisened by age, or rightfully lost trust in the media, or wrongfully lost trust in the media, but i find myself entirely unwilling to accept to accept claims like this.

Citation. Needed.

In order to believe this article, i need to learn about this publication, and then learn about the author, and then learn about this article specifically.

This shit is so much work. We need a new reporting format. Citationless articles are too infotainment-y for me now.


Citations in journalism is a really interesting thing. Unlike science, where at least in theory, everything is built from the ground up using first principles or built upon raw data collected, the "raw data" of journalism is just various types of conversations with people the journalist then has to verify, and gauge the reliability of. In other cases it's the journalists first person experience of an event.

Citations, (IMHO) aren't a solution to this because human judgement is inherent in explaining human behavior and events.

I personally don't think efforts to "fix the news" as a result of facebook or whatever make a lot of sense in this context. Instead, consumers of news need to habitually engage in the process that you call too much work.

I agree that it's a lot of work, but I don't see an alternative to critically engaging with reporting on human events.


Wikipedia does context amazingly well. If I go to the Wikipedia article on sandals I not only get information on sandals, I get information about why people might want to look at an article on sandals (eg, infectious disease control) and if I care to drill a little deeper a list of all the people who cared enough about sandals to edit the article. And a talk page to cover any controversies although sandals appear to be an uncontroversial subject.

Jumping to this article however I lose 80% of that. This article is light on that data and metadata. I can't tell much about the author (I can see his last 5 articles though) and I certainly can't tell what is primary research or not. Did this journalist see the 'cell-phone surveillance devices'? Is he working off a press release? Are there challenges to this narrative viewpoint? Is this written more out of a sense of entertainment or is there an effort being made not to embellish facts?

I'm going to guess that GP meant 'Citation needed' in a slightly broader sense than just name-the-source. There is a whole culture of open metadata and transparency that has grown up in the last two decades that is simply better than journalism. Wikipedia is trustworthy because the slightest suspicion can be investigated. It is frustrating to think that we are going to rely on journalism for political information when the articles are simply devoid of political context in the sense that is freely available on Wikipedia.


Just putting myself in the shoes of someone at Politico, I think they would point out a few things.

Is it reasonable to compare this article to a wikipedia article? The publishing time frame and the number of people involved are way different. Wikipedia isn't intended to be a source for current events. It isn't journalism.

Maybe more importantly, is Wikpedia really an objective or fair look at an issue? For sandals sure, but look up a controversial event page and I bet things start to seem more questionable. That's a point where the reputation of a newspaper is an advantage over Wikpedia because at wikipedia, each page, each sentence can have a different author with a different viewpoint or agenda.

Is the author as important as the publication itself? The editors are the ones making final decisions on things. For example, The Economist doesn't even use bylines. Journalists see themselves as researchers more than authors. The role of the "Author" if there is one is the editor.

An exhuastively cited and sourced article is difficult to read. The narrative is easily lost, and the source content is skipped over by most readers. And you still need to spend a lot of time combing through the source matter for it to be a meaningful improvement over an unsourced article

Last, journalists rely on an idea of common knowledge. They aren't going to provide sourcing on a commmonly reported facts like "stingray-like devices have been found near the whitehouse". That isn't as true in academia where citations probably would be used for that type of fact.

Overall, I'm not unsimpathetic to what you and OP are saying, I think with the internet news media could link articles and sources together better for easier validation.

However, the idea that this type of stuff can eliminate the need for a high level of engagement with the news, critical thinking skills, I don't agree with.


There are many Wikipedia pages on current, ongoing events. The editors even label them as such. So apparently it is intended for that purpose.


This? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Current_events

which led me to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Hong_Kong_protests

Its sources are the very articles that are being criticized in this thread.

Wikipedia isn't a news gathering organization. It aggregates information collected by others.


Wikipedia can be quite problematic if you just look at the page - the way you describe using it, and adding in checking the sources and references, it is a great tool.

But if you want to see an example of "opinionated" people ruining wikipedia, just look at the pages about specific philosophy topics and compare them to the SEP. - On wikipedia a self-learned person is worth as much as an expert, and might be able to push his opinion into the article through sheer stubbornness.


An author I follow on Twitter had trouble getting his birthday corrected on Wikipedia - it got reverted repeatedly as "original research" when he tried to fix it. Had to launder it through a third party by posting the correct one to Twitter and asking his fans to edit it on his behalf.



Wikipedia can be quite problematic if you just look at the page - the way you describe using it, and adding in checking the sources and references, it is a great tool.


I think the issue is less about literal citations and more about having any sort of hard fact to back up big claims.

It would be very easy for media companies to 100% fabricate many of the stories we see. I'm not saying that they are, but I have no real reason to believe otherwise. The only supporting evidence provided anymore is 'anonymous sources'.

We have to just trust that what the media says is the truth, because there is no way for us to verify the stories we hear. Whether you do trust these corporations or not, having to rely on that blind faith is a bad system.


> Unlike science, where at least in theory, everything is built from the ground up using first principles or built upon raw data collected, the "raw data" of journalism is just various types of conversations with people the journalist then has to verify, and gauge the reliability of.

Agreed.

> I personally don't think efforts to "fix the news" as a result of facebook or whatever make a lot of sense in this context. Instead, consumers of news need to habitually engage in the process that you call too much work.

Part of this process is reading the news critically, which I enjoy doing. From this article (emphasis mine):

> “The reaction ... WAS very different than it WOULD HAVE BEEN in the last administration,” this person said. “With the current administration, there ARE a different set of calculations in regard to addressing THIS.”

> The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which LIKELY would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government (INCLUDING ISRAEL) condemning its actions.

Citations aren't the answer in this case, but rather epistemology. Stating speculation as fact is an incredibly effective means of distorting the public's perception of reality, especially when the same distortion is presented repeatedly in different forms by various agencies. It seems to have become so common that even smart people don't pick up on it any more. If you start looking for it though, you'll see it everywhere.

Whether this deceit was intentional or accidental is unknown, but the end result remains the same: the public's perception of the details of this story consists of certainty about specific details, based purely on speculation.

https://spiritofcontradiction.eu/rowan-duffy/2017/06/07/fake...

https://theconversation.com/how-do-you-know-that-what-you-kn...


I see what you're saying but I don't agree that they were presenting the officials opinion as fact.

The reason we could criticize it in the first place is that it's clearly the opinion of an official who Politico judged as a credible expert on the matter of how these issues are commonly handled.


> I see what you're saying but I don't agree that they were presenting the officials opinion as fact

I don't think you really see what I'm saying. As literally written, they were presenting that particular section as fact. You may remark that I'm being excessively pedantic and that they were just writing a little sloppily, and you may be right, but at the end of the day the result is the same: each individual's mental model of the world is formed based upon the information they consume, and neither you nor I (nor scientists in the field) really know the effect this style of "news" reporting has on people at both the conscious and subconscious level.

Let me ask you this: hypothetically, let's say there was a way to enforce a law outlawing presenting speculation or opinions as if they were facts - do you think this would have an effect on society? I think HN would be a good testing ground for this experiment, but I don't sense much support for the idea.


Maybe I don't understand you. Exactly which sentence is presenting an opinion as a fact? I don't think they do so.


> “The reaction ... WAS very different than it WOULD HAVE BEEN in the last administration,” this person said. “With the current administration, there ARE a different set of calculations in regard to addressing THIS.”

> The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which LIKELY would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government (INCLUDING ISRAEL) condemning its actions.

I capitalized the key words, as well as changed something from implicit to explicit.

The article states that the last administration WOULD HAVE handled this situation different. This statement is epistemically flawed in a variety of ways, one major one being being it requires not just top secret but omniscient knowledge.

People have a hard enough time deducing what's actually going on even based on first hand and far simpler interpersonal interactions in their own daily lives, it's no wonder so many people are confused when hundreds of leading articles like this are printed and consumed every day. People already "hallucinate reality", we shouldn't be making it worse.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2128725-a-guide-to-why-...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictive_coding

EDIT: Perhaps this is where we're not seeing eye to eye: you may be judging/evaluating (see what I did there) this article based on your presumption of the _intent_ of the author, whereas I am talking about the impact of this kind of narrative-over-facts writing style on people's perception of reality, regardless of underlying intent?


I think you're putting the burden of someone interpreting an article correctly (in your subjective assessment of what is correct) on the news source.

Where I disagree is that I think it's the job of each of us as consumers of news to do the work of critically assessing what we read.

I don't think its about fixing the news, because I don't think thats possible. I think we need to focus on improving people's relationship with the news.


The article isn't saying that. It's in quotes becuase they are reporting the words of someone they've deemed to be a reputable source for the topic of standard administration behavior.

You may have an issue with that source's opinion, but that's different from having an issue with Politico.


> The article isn't saying that. It's in quotes becuase they are reporting the words of someone they've deemed to be a reputable source for the topic of standard administration behavior.

Very good point. My claim: "Stating speculation as fact...." itself could be described as sloppy. To clarify: factually, Politico is printing the words of a third party - it is a fact (presumably) that this person made that statement. The statement itself is speculation stated as fact, but the speaker bears the direct guilt for that, not Politico.

But I'm not pointing my finger so much at Politico for some sort of outrageous bias, in general or in this particular case, but rather the general way that events in reality are communicated to the public, and the way in which this subsequently manifests in society. Even if nothing nefarious has gone on, people perceive reality and the news the way they do (the specifics of which no one fully understands), and I'm suggesting (based largely on observation of apparent beliefs held by people in forums) that narrative and rumor based reporting like this is having a possibly very serious effect on people's perception of reality, the result being some degree of textbook mass delusion or worse in the public, where prior to cable news and the internet the beliefs would generally have been either null or wrong in other ways.


You should look up any number of books about how the US got into the Spanish American War in 1898. It's a very long standing problem.

I wouldn't describe an expert's opinion as "speculation". Maybe it's becuase you don't agree with their opinion that you see it that way?


I'm not sure what the Spanish American War has to do with this?

> I wouldn't describe an expert's opinion as "speculation".

The person isn't describing an event that occurred, but rather what someone else would have done under a given set of circumstances....he is discussing something that literally did not happen (well, at least to his knowledge - if it had, then his speculation could be proven true, false, or other. But he doesn't know everything that has occurred).

It is necessarily speculation, my or your opinion has no bearing on the matter.


"yellow journalism" was a major factor in swaying american public opinion into supporting a war with Spain. It's a very long standing problem. Not a recent development.


Ok....are you accusing Politico of yellow journalism?

Have you changed your mind on the speculation issue?


I don't think my point can be made any more clearly.

People are misinterpreting the news. It seems like your position is to blame the news, and you seem to think this is a new issue.

My position is that this is an inherent factor in production and consumption of the news. Books like Manufacturing Consent, and The Condition of Postmodernity are important to understanding this view and the social processes that support it. A classic example is the reporting on the sinking of the Maine more than 100 years ago.

I don't think that forcing news agencies or social media companies to change is a real solution. The solution lies in improving people's ability to read news critically across all mediums and to understand the context of media and social conversation and how it subtly serves those in power.

Lastly, I don't agree with your characterization of very standard reporting practices as "presenting speculation as fact" and I've clearly explained why above.

This will be my last comment in the thread. Thanks for engaging.


> People are misinterpreting the news. It seems like your position is to blame the news, and you seem to think this is a new issue.

Do you deny that it is possible in the English language to write things in a way that are technically and pedantically true, but misleading? I suspect not since you mention Manufacturing Consent, so what is it that you mean?

> I don't think that forcing news agencies or social media companies to change is a real solution. The solution lies in improving people's ability to read news critically across all mediums and to understand the context of media and social conversation and how it subtly serves those in power.

You have two groups: producers of news, and consumers. The former is small, organized, generally well educated, and already subject to regulations. None of this can be said about the latter group. Do you actually think the optimum approach is targeting the latter group? This seems logical to you? (Not to say that we shouldn't also be doing that.....that we aren't is suspicious in itself if you ask me.)

> your characterization of very standard reporting practices as "presenting speculation as fact" and I've clearly explained why above

You aren't even able to acknowledge that talking about something that didn't actually occur is necessarily speculation, it's not surprising we disagree.


The basic idea is that there is fact and there is truth. When fact is communicated it is intended to build truth in the audience.

When truth is communicated it is the product of the system that produces it. In our system, that truth serves a specific set of individuals, insitutions, and social relations. This isn't an explicit process it is inherent in human relations.

There is no way to "fix" the production of news and truth. What we can improve is how people consume the news

On this specific issue, the original question wasn't "is this speculation" it was "are they presenting this statement as fact". They are not presenting it as fact, it is clearly identified as a quote from a government official.

However, someone with poor reading skills might interpret it as such, which gets back to the original point that the focus should be on improving how people consume the news, not in trying to fix a problem that (imo) cannot be solved.

edit: can't reply to your latest comment. It sounds like your position is now that no one should be allowed to voice opinions about hypothetical situations because that is not a fact. Is expert opinion not a legitimate part of a news story? Or are you saying that the way they presented their opinion made it seem like a fact? I don't agree with either intrepretation.


> The basic idea is that there is fact and there is truth.

Yes, of course. There is also untruth, and then there is another category: unknown, which often results in speculation, which is then presented as truth. Leaving aside what's the case here, are you able to acknowledge this is possible?

> There is no way to "fix" the production of news and truth.

How are you able to know what isn't possible? How many times in the past have things been declared impossible, until suddenly someone found a way?

> They are not presenting it as fact, it is clearly identified as a quote from a government official.

I have already addressed that specifically: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20955117

>> The article isn't saying that. It's in quotes becuase they are reporting the words of someone they've deemed to be a reputable source for the topic of standard administration behavior.

> Very good point. My claim: "Stating speculation as fact...." itself could be described as sloppy. To clarify: factually, Politico is printing the words of a third party - it is a fact (presumably) that this person made that statement. The statement itself is speculation stated as fact, but the speaker bears the direct guilt for that, not Politico.

> However, someone with poor reading skills might interpret it as such

You seem confident. I challenge you to address my question about how someone can speak factually about the details of something that did not (to their knowledge) actually occur. This is the third time I've pointed this out, if you're confident you are correct, there should be no need to be evasive in conversation should there?


I think the reporter is the key here. Something analogous to an H-Index for reporters' quality over time could work. How many times has their reporting been refuted? How many times cited? Etc.

That could actually be something really big for news. Actual quantifiable credibility.


Keep in mind that reporting is very often inherently political or otherwise sensitive. Often complaints are signs of a reporter doing their job well, lack of complaints a sign of a hack.


Onus should be on journalists. Bring back the fairness doctrine and have people smarter than me take down the sinclair group.


It cites "three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter". Further down it cites a former senior intelligence official.

Do you need me to explain why sources might not want to be named?


I think the source is the "former official". I'd imagine that most of the time when allies are caught spying on the U.S. the public doesn't get to know about it, so it might not be possible to source that claim without talking to someone with inside knowledge of this stuff.


What kind of citation would make you believe that the US government concluded it was Israel? Or about the other occasions? A lot of times when people don't like a story they shoot the messenger.


My rule of thumb for modern reporting is when they use the word "unprecedented" it probably isn't. And sure enough, if you look for it, similar things happened 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

Whether the journalist is ignorant or lying, it doesn't matter.

Their first job is to get the facts correct. If those are wrong, nothing else matters.


Both quotes cite their sources — “former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter” — in the parts of the sentence you cut off:

> The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

> But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

It’s not clear from the second quote alone that “unlike other occasions” is part of their sources comments or the author’s contextualizing. Luckily, they clarify later in the article:

> The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions.

Whether or not you trust Politico is another thing. But don’t claim they’re not citing their sources when they very clearly are.


>according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

It would matter if there were any substance to the claims, it might make sense. But instead, the article goes a step further as you quote here:

>> The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions.

This take, of course, hinges on the premise being correct, which there is no substance to prove it is. This is classic oppo laundering.


You're moving the goalposts. Regardless of the intent of the piece, it clearly cites its sources.


It cites 3 former senior administration officials, which narrows it down to thousands of people who may or may not be privy to such info. It’s the same as saying, “according to 3 human beings...” . The sources won’t be burned so we’ll never know- it’s the same as making it up.


It is not so hard to imagine why the source would like to remain anonymous.


It's also extremely common to float false information through "anonymous government officials."


Correct, which is why it is oppo laundering, as opposed to just a hit piece.


Quick and easy way to deal with this: disregard the daily news entirely unless it profits you.

Israel left listening devices around the White House? Big if true, but we have the Department of State, Intelligence Community and Department of Defense to deal with this crap in approximately that order. If it turns into anything big or is part of something bigger, someday there will be a book about it.

News in all its forms is a product. Either the product has value to you, or it doesn’t. If a piece of news has value to you, you will find a way to verify the claims, either personally or getting someone else to do the grunt work for you.


> Big if true, but we have the Department of State, Intelligence Community and Department of Defense to deal with this crap in approximately that order.

The big news here is that nothing happened and nothing is gonna happen. People should start getting some clues from what should happen, and yet doesn't.

Edit: at the time of this edit, the news is already on the front page of the Guardian and the BBC. Completely absent from the NYTimes and Washington Post. Pay attention to what doesn't happen.


You know what can happen? We can vote the current President out for being too buddy buddy with a foreign power, if we politically determine that to be in the best interest of our country. That’s the political process.

Your Edit reinforces my point: news is a product. If a publisher calls attention to or does not call attention to an issue, that means it wasn’t in the interests of the publisher. They’re market participants, not public servants.


Spying is part of life. We do it, they do it, everybody foes it.


When was the last time that British or German spies were caught spying on the US president? And even in that case, the relationship between the US and Israel is a unique one: as one swears to be the best friend ever of the other, while enjoying lavish funding and unwavering political protection. While the president of the US can accuse people who vote for the opposition to be disloyal to Israel. That is, disloyal to a foreign country.


That is where one issue where you'll see some agreement between the two parties...unending commitment and funding for Israel...it seems like Israel is making out like bandits from this one-way "relationship"


How about the other way around? The US got caught spying on Germany a while back

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-usa-spying-idUSKC...


The UK is part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance and as such has no real need to spy on the US president. I would assume that Germany is spying on the US but just hasn't been caught (at least not publicly).


> The UK is part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance and as such has no real need to spy on the US president.

Because belonging to the "five eyes" means they get to hear the official and private conversations of Trump for free?

And since the answer is "no, of course not" your argument is completely irrelevant.


You missed the point. If the UK gets caught spying on the US president then they're out of Five Eyes. That would be a much greater loss than anything they could gain through such spying.

Germany has much less to lose.


And Israel has nothing to lose from the US?

(Apart from the fact that you're obviously trying to change what you said here, as you wrote "the UK has no need to spy".)


> "And Israel has nothing to lose from the US?"

Honestly? Probably not. Obviously they get a lot from the US, but given past outcomes what are the chances they lose that support no matter what they get caught doing? A huge proportion of Americans have an unflinching fondness for Israel. For some evangelicals, support for Israel is even seen as a religious imperative.


That's not how democracy is supposed to work.


That is exactly how a functioning democracy works: you protect your interests, including your collective interests (in Defense, Intelligence, Diplomacy, Trade).

The innovation with democracy is it gives members of the citizenry the chance to have a say and shape our civil institutions. News is what you use to figure out what you should be investing in or divesting from, and to keep tabs on how well your own interests are being served. Anything more than that is noise without value, an intellectual poison.

Where it fails is when individual interests win out disproportionately at the expense of the collective interest and civil institutions are left to rot and atrophy.

You can waste everything else, but you shouldn’t waste time. That’s the one asset you are innately born with that you can not recover once it is gone.


And then learn about the technology, and learn about the attribution.

If there’s anything I learned from the governments attribution of the DNC “hacking”, it’s that government attribution is crap. Go ahead and search for the actual evidence used in that attribution (good luck finding anything other than click bait MSM). It’s almost as laughable as the evidence in “trump tower server back channel to Russia”. For any security-minded folks it will be good for a laugh.


When you have spy level investigations, the bias towards implicating a state actor over organised crime is most prevalent. Indeed in this case, they felt it was most likely without quantifying why they thought that was so. A trend we see play out many times. Then you add the government secrecy and just get the answer without any workings out. Hence it is right to question the answer. More so when it is often worked most gray by terms like "most likely". Then you always get some random official making a more solidified claim without any further evidence at all making a more solid case "“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” said a former senior intelligence official." and the press will just roll with that.

Did they do due diligence - yes they will say as they asked somebody else. Do we have definitive proof - nope. But this is a pattern that plays out many a time.

It also ignores how such devices could of been used to spy upon others, found and then planted to cause embarrassment at a higher level - That's spycraft for you, happens.

But the take away question I have is - why do reporters always fallback upon EX-staff members for quotes, how many did they ask until they got the answer they wanted? That is one area that totally erodes most credibility to the discerning eye and yet is often used by the media to support some direction or another.


Nothing about this article seems untrustworthy.

Politico is a highly trustworthy paper that had real reporters who talk to real people all over the US government and it references real events and people and papers all throughout this article.

Your comment seems out of place.


> Nothing about this article seems untrustworthy.

You got it reversed. What about it seems trustworthy? Russel's teapot and all that, the one making claims has to prove it, not others have to disprove it.

> Politico is a highly trustworthy paper

Trust-proof should be per-concrete-article, not per publication.

> Your comment seems out of place.

[Citation needed] :-) -- Seriously, I don't see anything wrong. Okay, you dislike the opinion, I get it.


Isn't the reputation of a publication a legitimate part of evaluating an article?

Your attitude seems very close to a position that we can never truly know anything.


No, GP's position seems to be closer to "actually being sure about something requires more evidence than has been given".


To me it feels more like "more evidence can ever realistically be available, especially on intelligence operations, thus i can just ignore articles with content I don't like". Especially the attack on reputation worries me, since this is pretty much the only thing left to go on for average humans without unlimited time.


right, at best it's crippling. At worst it becomes a device for dismissing any news that is inconsistent with one's worldview. "That probably isn't even true."


> What about it seems trustworthy?

That Israeli spies have been caught multiple times in the US, spying.

If you've have a history of murdering people, I'm at least going to give some attention to the people saying you've murdered again.


There's no specific reason that I have to distrust Politico, or this article in particular. On the other hand, that's not really a great standard, and the trend of verbatim repeating the words of anonymous government sources needs to end... having sources that are anonymous in the government is fine, but what they say needs to be corroborated.


its doesn't seem too far fetched given the history of israeli spying in the US - citation or not.


Do a startup that puts news on the blockchain. Include SHA512 of pictures and video of eyewitnesses of said piece of news.


I actually had a similar idea to discourage certain news outlets from posting inflammatory but misleading or untrue headlines and articles for clicks, and then later changing them to something more factually correct after the damage has been done.


What if a deepfake got in your blockchain?


Good point, but at least for now, video deepfakes can still be detected via machine learning.

Also, deepfakes work well for replacing faces, but not yet for synthesizing actual videos of complex scenes (like crowds) :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMZkLVBhcig

But then you're right, it won't take long before that's possible. Whether we can continue sniffing out deepfakes with ML is unclear.


No citation I think in such cases, unless Israel makes fools of USA and they leak what they have.


Agreed. This is the same publication that insisted that a shadowy Jewish cabal is controlling Trump at Putin's behest.

Edit:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/the-happy-go... (The original hero image has been changed to something less ominous)

https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/229930/politicos-dubious-ch...


Unfortunately very standard cherry picking facts article, the sad part is that it matched with the conspiracies of jews running the world.

Unfortunately a lot of journalism coming from the American left lately gives me those American right wing radio vibes where everyone's the enemy, connected, planning to get you. I'm not American but it seems the two party system is absolutely ripping your country and society apart, but then again people say that this has worked well in the history and things balance out. Hard to take a rational view when things are emotional all around the world, people connected more than ever.


As the saying goes, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.


It's funny that you would post something like that without citation under a comment talking about citations.


You are right, I've updated my comment with sources.


This has been reported on before and it seems many countries possibly ran sting rays in Washington. It's maybe normal.

The article might be both technically right and fake.

Potential Spy Devices Which Track Cellphones, Intercept Calls Found All Over D.C., Md., Va.

https://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/Potential-Spy-D...


2019:

> An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”

2014 (https://www.newsweek.com/israel-wont-stop-spying-us-249757):

> Aaron Sagui told Newsweek "Israel doesn't conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel."

I have to say, placing stingrays around D.C. is pretty bold, but not exactly surprising. It's not even an open secret that Israel aggressively spies in the U.S.; it just is what it is, I guess.


And how's this different from America spying on Israel, or any of the five eyes nations it claims to not spy against?

Every country spies on everyone else.


Every country spies on everyone else, including allies. But the extent and depth of Israeli spying in the U.S. is considered to be particularly extreme for allies. Importantly, there are rarely any repercussions, and Israel never cops to it, which is sort of a slap in the face.

When it was discovered that the U.S. was tapping Angela Merkel's cellphone there was public outrage in Germany, shock in the international community, and substantial consequences in terms of further reduced intelligence cooperation. It's worthwhile to mention that U.S. and German intelligence sharing is much more limited than between the U.S. and Israel, which is why Obama approved the tapping in the first place.

When U.S. espionage efforts in Japan were publicized, Obama ended up apologizing to Shinzo Abe.

AFAIK, the only other ally in recent U.S. history (past 50 years) that came close to the extent and depth of Israeli espionage is France. But nobody in the U.S. gave them a pass, either.

There are countless ways to distinguish Israeli efforts. Attempts to equivocate here basically amount to whataboutism. Until recently it would be hard to make strong value judgments because Israel is of course a sovereign nation with its own self interests, and their obnoxious spying seemed harmless enough considering they know how to keep a secret and were careful not to obstruct finalized Washington policy. But the problem with spying is that it can injure trust, and allies need to be able to trust each other as much as practicable. Now that Israel doesn't even pretend to be non-partisan wrt American politics, and even aggressively lobbied to kill the signed & sealed Iran nuclear deal, their efforts have arguably crossed a line even given the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Israel. (OTOH, I wonder which came first, the stingrays or Trumps public disclosure of secret Israeli intelligence. Perhaps Israel took the risk partly because of their distrust in Trump, either his honesty generally or at least his ability to keep a secret.)


Regardless of the attempt here at painting a country's foreign policy as partisan, any given country favors one U.S. party over the other. Right now, China probably favors a Democrat led government, so does Iran. The U.S. probably favors one Israeli party over the other. Your entire issue with this is likely because you perceive Israeli spying to oppose your political party. On those lines, would you classify Chinese/Iranian spying efforts as harmless, just because they currently bat for the Democrats? Or Canada, given that they are allied?

Also, it is being taken as fact that Israel is the originator of the sting rays, when in reality this isn't conclusive.

I believe the U.S. and Israel have proportionate response to each other being caught spying, it makes zero common sense for the U.S. to undermine it's own national security by repeatedly going easy on Israel.

So, citations outstanding on the following open ended claims made:

1. Extent and depth of Israeli spying in the U.S. is considered to be particularly extreme (and U.S spying in Israel isn't)

2. US is easy on Israeli spying efforts despite Israel being hard on US spying efforts

3. Israel is definitely behind the sting rays

4. Your reaction to this story is partisan


Because you managed to get under my skin, I'll give you some freebies:

2004: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-sep-03-na-spypr...

2008: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-spy-who...

Notice the thread: Israel is uniquely aggressive, especially as an ally.

This article is full of innuendo and conjecture (they say this up front), but provides insight into the complex web of business and intelligence relationships that make it easy for Israel to accomplish electronic surveillance in the U.S.: https://www.wired.com/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/

A specific case of spying intended to undermine U.S. policymaking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Franklin_espionage_sc...

And the same thing 10 years later, except now patently partisan: https://theintercept.com/2015/03/25/netanyahus-spying-denial...

Another thread: Allies typically spy on each other to understand their motivations and to predict their next moves. But Israel is increasingly doing it to enable them to directly interfere in domestic American politics. Some might excuse it as Israel being justifiably paranoid about Iran; others won't excuse it. But you can't deny that it stands apart.

The reported examples are just the tip of the iceberg. As people readily report, it's widely known/believed that the above is just the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes this results in misleading and false accusations, but this is a consequence of consistent, significant, long-term espionage activity, as well as the fact that their intelligence activities run the gambit of methodologies (legal and illegal), much of which doesn't fit the Hollywood definition of espionage.


> Because you managed to get under my skin...

I'm not betting on the remainder of your comment being objective. In 2019 if someone can get under your skin by just politely asking for evidence, maybe just maybe, you aren't engaging objectively.

Nonetheless, while there is some evidence pointing to aggressive spying by the Israelis, if you disconnect it from the context of what the U.S. does in Israel, the suggestions of favoritism seem disingenuous.

Most of all, there's no real evidence that 3-letter agencies and career state department employees, who largely handle domestic and international spying, would undermine U.S. interests, regardless of who is in the White House.


> Regardless of the attempt here at painting a country's foreign policy as partisan

It's not just my opinion, even AIPAC has become critical of Israel's departure from historic norms: https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/aipac-conference-urgent...

> Your entire issue with this is likely because you perceive Israeli spying to oppose your political party.

Yes, every Democrat must be fuming at attempts to spy on their political foe, President Trump. (FWIW, I'm not a registered Democrat.) But, okay, sure, there's definitely a growing undercurrent of anti-Israel sentiment among Democrats. And like many partisan issues it has it's obnoxious and counter-productive moments. But why do you think that is? It has gone hand-in-hand with the shift of Israeli lobbying to Republicans. Which came first is irrelevant and not worth arguing except to say it's been a slow shift among many parties (politicians, organizations, etc) across the board that has accelerated in the past 10 years.

> On those lines, would you classify Chinese/Iranian spying efforts as harmless, just because they currently bat for the Democrats? Or Canada, given that they are allied?

China and Iran aren't close allies. They're not even allies. And nothing I've said here or anywhere else would even suggest I believe their espionage is harmless. What their espionage doesn't do is destroy trust, because there's no trust to destroy. And Canada has no reputation for high-level espionage targeting Americans, let alone American political leaders. And whatever the extent of it, if it ever rose to the level of Israeli activity it'd be a shock to everybody inside the Beltway.

> Also, it is being taken as fact that Israel is the originator of the sting rays, when in reality this isn't conclusive.

Of course it's not conclusive. From a standpoint of someone without a security clearance, it's admittedly even less conclusive than the Russian election interference campaign, or 9/11 for that matter. Nothing is conclusive, not even the notion that the sun will come up tomorrow. Everything is contingent on the validity of circumstantial evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRNO1LFQBWI&feature=youtu.be...

> it makes zero common sense for the U.S. to undermine it's own national security by repeatedly going easy on Israel.

Neither domestic nor international politics is based on common sense, let alone an objectively rigorous analysis of the situation.

> citations outstanding on the following open ended claims made

I don't even know where to start with citations. I majored in International Affairs as an undergraduate and interned for several years at a K Street lobbying organization that promoted U.S.-Israel defense cooperation. I've read countless books and articles on these issues generally, and have personally met (albeit as an intern) people like John Bolton and an Israeli defense minister (probably Moshe Arens; previously I wrote Ehud Barak but that doesn't seem right looking at the timeline[1]). Of course we never discussed policy, let alone spying, but I'm comfortable believing that as compared to the vast majority of people I have a relatively objective perspective on U.S.-Israel security matters which, if anything, favors Israel.

The facts (such as they are) of Israeli spying in the U.S., the sentiments of the intelligence community, and the opinions of political scholars are readily available with the slightest bit of concerted effort. There's not even any significant dispute about these things generally, only about their prudence relative to Israel's existential security posture, and the substantive threat they pose to American security. As I said, Israel planting stringrays is bold but not that surprising. And, sure, it's entirely possible it will turn out Israel didn't do it, but the claim is quite credible, and regardless there's an exceptionally well established baseline consensus regarding the extent of Israeli espionage on which to uniquely criticize (or at least distinguish) their espionage activities. For example, the Newsweek article I and others posted earlier from 2014 references open Congressional meetings with testimony given by intelligence officials attesting to its unique nature.

You can stick to your own faux skepticism if you want. But if you applied it equally to everything in your life I'm not sure how you'd have confidence in the existence of anything you didn't personally observe yourself.

[1] It was during the week of several events in Washington for NATO's 50th anniversary, the same week and possibly even the same day I also got to shake hands with the President of Bulgaria who handed me a CD of propaganda[2] material to post on our website that supported their entry into NATO. So maybe sometime in 1999?

[2] And "propaganda" isn't an accusation or judgment. It's just the proper term for material used by governments to sell and persuade an idea or objective. I don't think we ever used much if any of the videos and other material on there as nobody wanted to write an article or essay as a pretense for publishing it. I don't think any American leaders ever had serious reservations about Bulgaria joining NATO, anyhow. That lack of caution is exactly why Russia has been so pissed about NATO expansion.


> Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Pollard



Former CIA and Mossad workers working in the highly (and badly) regulated private sector is not "Israel espionage" on the US government.

Edit: Why the down vote?


Private companies and Israel defense and intelligence agencies have deep ties, and the article shows. For instance:

> Mossad Director Yossi Cohen told the paper that the Mossad’s partnership with civilian companies in Israel is “excellent” and that the agency will continue to strengthen those ties.


People have jobs, learn, keep ties, and move on to do what they know elsewhere.

Talking about private sector, private contractor doing shaded activities for US clients is not the same as "Israel espionage". Israel is a country, does the article suggest evidence that Israel (or someone on its behalf) have done any espionage in US?

Qouting your comment from another thread: "The article is presenting a claim [you are, Israel espionage is not claimed in the article] which needs to be backed by sound evidence, like research papers [or any other evidence]. That's where the burden of proof lies, not on those who reject the claim on face value."

Https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20886710


> does the article suggest evidence that Israel (or someone on its behalf) have done any espionage in US?

Yes it does, many times. I'd also suggest you read the series on Epstein in which MintPress unravels a deep web of crooked connections between Intelligence and wealthy individiuals. They also go through the Promis software scandal (backdoor installed by Israeli intelligence).


Found no evidence supported examples where the state of Israel was taking part in any of the mentioned events


Intelligence agencies should not be permitted to launder their accountability and reputation through private contractors. By that I mean, when they inevitably do it you should call it what it is, not play along with their convenient fiction.


Do you have any reason to believe that intelligence agencies are involved in the cases mentioned? Why would they? Please cite.

Former workers are sometimes just that.


You really should look into the Promis scandal, on how historically Intelligence agencies have used shady private entities in order to avoid public scrutiny. It's very didatic.


Yes. Shit happened in the world. There were actual conspiracies. That is not to say that everything that can't be disproven is true.

(You're suggesting guilty until proven innocence logic) (You are welcome to worship the flying spaghetti monster until you can disprove its existence)


I was pointing to an actual case of state intelligence working with private entities to achieve shady goals. It is well documented, not a "conspiracy". You are simply refusing to read the material I have already provided and indicated (as in the Promis "incident"). Try reading the article and checking its sources before making snarky remarks.


You should reread the thread. I never said that things like that could never happen. Just that there is no reason to believe that that's what happened now.


Can you provide me with any reason to believe intelligence agencies don't use contractors, or don't use contractors who used to work for the agency in question? I doubt it.


I have not said that intelligence agencies don't use contractors.

You claimed that Israel's agencies had something to do with what the article above is discussing.

You should provide evidence.

(and no. The fact that former intelligence workers have roles in a related private company is not evidence of the country's involvement. Many companies employ or are managed by former intelligence workers. If you think they're all controlled by the Israel Mossad you should probably stop using firewalls/routers/CPU chipsets. Good luck)



Lol I find that extremely hard to believe. I would bet every dollar I had that we (the US) do spy on Israeli soil.


Last line of the article:

> As for Israel’s recent surveillance of the White House, one of the former senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged it raised security concerns but joked, “On the other hand, guess what we do in Tel Aviv?”


All governments spy on all other governments. The only differences in spying policies are:

1. Effort expended, money in particular.

2. Risk tolerance, toward exposure and blowback.

3. Competence of execution.

#3 is a function of the spy org, #1 and #2 are functions of pairwise relations between the particular governments.

Even the closest of allies spy on each other. We don't hear about it much, because risk tolerance #2 in such efforts is more wisely kept very low.


Interesting that the quote mentions Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem.


Why is that interesting?


Where is the capital? That sound more sarcastic than I mean it, but the centre of administration is clearly Tel Aviv.



In fairness, Israel claims they learned a lesson from that incident and implemented the policy you're quoting as a result.

edit: Some weird downvotes here. I'm not saying I believe they don't actually spy, but they have made that promise: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/israel-condemn...

> Since Pollard's conviction, Israel has promised not to spy on the US. Israeli ministers said on Sunday that Israel does not spy on the US president or defence secretary. "I think we should expect the same relations from the US," Steinitz said.


Except that every few years you still get stories like this in the press: https://www.newsweek.com/israel-wont-stop-spying-us-249757

and then usually after a few days of embarrassed silence they go away.


> "In another top-secret document seen by the Guardian, dated 2008, a senior NSA official points out that Israel aggressively spies on the US. "On the one hand, the Israelis are extraordinarily good Sigint partners for us, but on the other, they target us to learn our positions on Middle East problems," the official says. "A NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] ranked them as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the US."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-...


"Not to spy on the US" does not preclude "spying in the US". Also, what of spying on US citizens? And also, what good are promises from intelligence agencies, for whom lying is an essential part of the craft, and for which repercussions are nil?


> Israeli ministers said on Sunday that Israel does not spy on the US president or defence secretary

OK so they don't spy on 2 very specific persons, what about the rest of the country?

Plus trusting anything what Mosad says is like trusting Israelis that they don't have nuclear bombs and don't bomb their neighbors from obtaining the same... doesn't make any sense at all


> In 2010, the secret covers of a Mossad hit team, some of whom had been posing as tennis players, were blown after almost 30 minutes of surveillance video was posted online of them going through a luxury Dubai hotel where they killed a top Hamas terrorist in his room.

For those who have not yet seen the footage in question, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJujIwtdk8w

Captivating stuff.


Thank you for sharing! It is quite incredible how they were able to piece all that footage together!


I still don’t understand how the Stingray is a saleable product. There’s no way such a device could obtain FCC certification, or for a prospective user to obtain a license to operate one. So notwithstanding the fact that the government wants these things, Harris shouldn’t be making or selling these things, and rightfully belongs in jail.


Harris can manufacture this under the guise it’s never intended for use within the U.S. They can claim it is for counter-insurgency surveillance in certain central Asian countries.

Alternatively, they could seek FCC OET authorization for the product as test equipment, but I doubt it, and my quick searches have yielded nothing.

I suspect this is why Harris, FBI and other LEAs conceal their use [1].

1. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/crime/bs-md-ci-stingray-mu...


> The FCC's involvement in cell site simulators began years ago when it first approved commercial sales to law enforcement.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/08/fcc-created-stingray-p...


Not surprising.

It's intriguing to think about how this might intersect with the recently departed Jeffery: https://www.mintpressnews.com/mega-group-maxwells-mossad-spy...


There are a lot of people in this thread oddly pointing links to this "Mint Press News" site. For anyone curious and reading my comment, don't click. It's a propaganda site and has almost no reputation for trustworthiness or accuracy.


Oh boy, that article series needs more attention.

On a similar note, just regarding intercept material from the stingrays in OP, the fact that there AREN'T a bunch of White House phone conversations posted to the internet may tell us something about whoever placed them. They could be posted any time to embarrass/indict/etc the administration but instead they're being held for leverage.


Tbh...with the kind of politics in the world, I won't be surprised if US is doing the same to Israelis or some other country.

Another example would be Turkey bugging the Saudi Embassy in Khashoggi killing.

But the other thing that irks me is how easily one can get labelled an antisemite for an honest cricism of Israeli politics.


With the billions of dollars the US gives to Israel as foreign aid every year, we are arguably funding the spying on ourselves.


Israel and the U.S are extremely strong alliance

Also the Mossad is working a lot with the secret service in the U.S

I believe there is a deeper reason behind those actions that won't be revealed to us (it can also explain the lack of actions of the U.S towards this case)


Leaks have shown that with the 5 eyes 'one hand washes another' and probably spying on US citizens on behest of the US.


Israel isn’t part of five eyes.


True but I don't think it refutes GP's central point.

The intelligence community has their hands tied when it comes to their own citizens due to strong constitutional protections, so in order to get what they desire, they operate quasi-extrajudicially (i.e. exploit a loophole) where they just get a friendly foreign power to do the spying and then trade intelligence for intelligence on their own citizens. I'm pretty sure this kind of scheme is behind GP's post and such an arrangement is not limited to members of the five eyes.



>Israel and the U.S are extremely strong alliance

Not always; google for 'dancing israelis'


So? Just because they work together doesn't mean they are not doing it. That's not how spying works.

In fact, its well known with the intelligence community that Israel is by far the greatest intelligence now that Communism doesn't exist anymore.


> Israel and the U.S are extremely strong alliance

Citation needed. We hear this all the time, but from where I stand it looks like a pretty one-sided "relationship."

We give them billions every year while running a deficit and what do we get from it?


Wondering if this might explain similar spying around the Canadian parliament...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rcmp-csis-cell-surveillance...


As Robert Greene said, "You have more to fear from your friends than your enemies."


> The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information.

I realize that roaming is a thing, and I don’t know how cellular protocols work, but I am curious why at this point phones don’t connect to towers anonymously, authenticate towers by default, encrypt identity, etc..? Surely the phone could be made to ask you before attaching to a service of unknown origin without compromising you, especially in higher security scenarios. Is this difficult or impossible to do for some reason? Is it already in the works and just not here yet?


Even if it is possible, why would it ever be implemented?

The vast majority of users don't care about this. And even if they did, it's not like there's any real competition in cellular carriers, so there still wouldn't be incentive for carriers to implement this.

On the flip side, there is lots of demand from law enforcement for them _not_ to. Law enforcement uses stingrays and would certainly pressure carriers to not implement something that stops them from continuing.


Isn't that a bit like asking why HTTPS would ever be implemented, and saying that the vast majority of users don't care about internet privacy, and law enforcement would very much prefer we don't use encryption? The reason I see it being implemented is to prevent StingRay from being a thing.


The barriers to entry for building HTTPS software are a lot lower than building out cellular infrastructure. For HTTPS you have a lot of altruistic people and companies, like letsencrypt and Mozilla willing to give some resources to make HTTPS everywhere possible.

There really isn’t a similar entity in the cellular carrier world. Trying to start something new tomorrow that is more secure would take a huge investment and would likely take a very long time to recoup that investment in today’s climate, as mentioned it’s not enough to get regular users to switch.

So unless the government mandates it which I think we all agree is not in their best interest or some very rich person comes along and offers carriers a compelling reason to switch I just don’t see it happening.

And I totally agree with you that it should be done. I just don’t see how given where we are today.


> The barriers to entry for building HTTPS software are a lot lower than building out cellular infrastructure.

Why assume extra cell security would be a hardware build-out? Surely all towers in existence can get remote firmware upgrades, the same way all of todays routers can?

> For HTTPS you have a lot of altruistic people and companies, like letsencrypt and Mozilla willing to give some resources to make HTTPS everywhere possible.

That seems true in retrospect, but there was lots resistance to, and futility thinking about HTTPS before it happened, I remember it, I was there. It only seems like there are altruistic people helping now that it basically is everywhere and now that it’s easy & cheap to do, and everyone knows it’s a good idea.

> So unless the government mandates it

Agreed that’s unlikely to happen, but it doesn’t seem like a real barrier to me. Maybe GDPR or Europe will take the lead on this one too. But very little of the security & privacy we have in the US has ever come from a government mandate, yet we do have some. HTTPS wasn’t a government mandate. They didn’t oppose it either, possibly because they have keys and/or cooperative ISPs, but they sure didn’t do anything to push it forward.

> I just don’t see how given where we are today.

Public awareness about the issue for one. Rather than saying it’s futile and will probably never happen, talking to your friends and family about it will help. Though we have a super long way to go, improvements in privacy do tend to happen once the public truly understands how they’re being spied on. Privacy pushes by Apple and Google could make it happen. Even Apple alone might be able to make it happen, and they’re currently on the side of privacy. It might also unfortunately take more widely reported cases of StingRay before people perk up to this issue.


True, firmware updates are a possible upgrade path, I don't know much about cellular hardware so I can't speak to what capabilities can be added that way.

I agree about public awareness but if I'm pessimistic it's because I do talk to my friends and family about it and they all think I'm just paranoid. :-)

They just can't understand why I don't have a FB account, don't use iCloud or Google Docs. Everyone uses it, they say, how could it be bad if everyone is using it? Granted having phone calls spied on might get their attention a bit more but I still get an attitude from people like "I'm not doing anything wrong, why would they ever listen to or track me?".


> why phones don’t connect to towers anonymously

Since the GSM era, law enforcement all over the world has appreciated being able to tie cell phone signals to individual devices. IMEI etc is part of the standard for a reason.


While I appreciate law enforcement wanting to do it's job, there's zero technical reason to require compromised privacy and/or protocols that allow for malicious third parties to impersonate legitimate service providers, right?

There is no reason that the phone can't first check that the tower is legitimate before providing identity, and that the tower then checks whether the phone is legitimate before providing any service.

Law enforcement can have what they want without forcing the public to be subject to hacking or identification by anyone at all with an agenda or a few bucks to spare. Right?

Given the increased public awareness of internet security and privacy recently, I'd guess that increased public awareness of mobile security is either already happening or about to happen. I'm just curious how far along we are.


But LEA are the ones setting up the illegitimate “towers”. It’s not about them keeping you safe from scary black hats, it’s about them being able to use them without hurdles to jump over.

And as far as the carriers are concerned most of the public doesn’t care, LE is happy and they don’t have to spend money upgrading anything.


I’m not suggesting something that will stop law enforcement at all, I am suggesting something that will prevent your phone from connecting to any random device that any person anywhere can drop under a bush.

> But LEA are the ones setting up the illegitimate “towers”.

The article said it’s a foreign government, Israel, spying on lawmakers, not U.S. law enforcement. You are suggesting the StingRays are ours and not black hats?

> as far as the carriers are concerns most of the public doesn’t care, LE is happy

That’s because they haven’t heard from the public on this issue, nobody’s complaining because nobody knows. As soon as they do hear about it, they will realize the public cares. This is why public awareness of the lack of security in our current cellular setup is important.

Law enforcement is a non-argument in my opinion. Of course they want it easy, but we do not have to make it easy. Many of the safety measures we currently enjoy happened despite law enforcement’s complaints, including device locking and encryption.

And, like I said before, I believe they can get what they want with little to no effort and continue to spy on us without forcing the public to lose privacy to Israeli or Russian or Chinese or even your local neighborhood black hats.


The article said it’s a foreign government, Israel, spying on lawmakers, not U.S. law enforcement. You are suggesting the StingRays are ours and not black hats?

I'm saying how is your device able to distinguish between the two? As in if they lock down the towers then they are effectively preventing you from connecting to StingRays as well.

And, hey, I agree with you, I'd love to see some regulation that forced the hands of the carriers. And maybe more people would care if they knew. But I'm skeptical in this day and age where everyone seems willing to give away everything about themselves in exchange for some convenience and entertainment.


> But I'm skeptical ... everyone seems willing to give away everything

Well, I hope you get your optimism back! :) FWIW, I think there's a mountain of evidence pointing in the positive direction. It might not be a majority yet, (and it doesn't take a majoriry!) but there's tons of awareness about the loss of privacy that comes with Facebook and Google, and it's growing and being reported in the mainstream press every day now. HTTPS actually is almost everywhere, and 10 years ago it was almost nowhere. GDPR happened. There are a ton of reasons to think cellular privacy is on the way. No doubt it's frustrating that it isn't here already, and no doubt that it takes time, but personally I feel like skepticism and hopelessness is on the disappearing end of this, and that it's inevitable we'll get better mobile privacy.


Well hell man, you're actually making me feel better! Thanks. Maybe it's just because it's Friday but I'm going to roll with this for a while.

Have a great weekend dahart!


Telephone providers can't even reliably identify the source of a call anymore. These companies are regulatory capture dinosaurs who haven't made any significant innovations for half a century.

I don't think there is a chance in hell this kind of innovation would come out of any of the current major US telecoms.


It could easily come from Apple, no?


The whole reason that StingRay exists is that even GSM phones connect "anonymously-enough" that it is hard to track an subscriber by purely passive means and doing active MitM is simpler.

In GSM the cellphone did not authenticate the network in any way. UMTS and up has mutual network-SIM authentication.



I know that NSO group, based in Israel, has advanced cell phone hacking skills. 60 minutes did an article on it a while back: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/interview-with-ceo-of-nso-group...


That’s what countries do! Right? Everybody spies on others. Pretty sure the US and the UK are spying on each other too despite both being five eyes members.


Sort of related: if you're ever in DC on the Hill, a trip to the Spy Museum is a worth it if you're into that kind of thing.


Israel spies on the US and the US spies on Israel (and everyone else)...what are the news?


Feels like there is quite a bit of an attempt to sway the conversation in the comments


In what way?


Wait until they find out about all the fleshy spy devices that Israel planted in the Congress.


It's common knowledge that Trump regularly uses a personal, non-secured iPhone to communicate with friends and advisers.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/24/18020746/president-donal...

It'd be malpractice by a major intelligence agency not to attempt this, and I'd suspect there are a bunch of these things from various countries (including allies) within range of the White House.


> It'd be malpractice by a major intelligence agency not to attempt this

And the countermeasure is so simple that even the most simple of simpletons can understand it.

"Hey, this room is bugged. Don't talk there if you want a private conversation."


"Don't talk about classified stuff around the President because his phone is probably compromised" is easy to understand, but a difficult instruction to follow.


I was kinda assuming that the president would be the simpleton to figure out that the phone was bugged and take care of the issue. But perhaps I overestimate simpletons.


What does the US get out of the special relationship with Israel? Anti-Israel sources mostly talk about the strong Jewish lobbies, while pro-Israel sources mostly cite being the only democracy in the region.

Both seem misleading at best. What's the US's argument from self-interest for tolerating this kind of thing?


It's important to remember that "foreign aid" is actually domestic aid, i.e. is not money given from one country to another to purchase things, but things from particular vendors in a particular country given to another country, paid for by tax dollars. That massive aid to Israel (and Egypt, and wherever else) creates a block of insider companies in the US that need to lobby for Israeli belligerence (and promote the idea of constant existential threats to Israel) to protect a significant portion of their business.

This would happen whether or not these companies had any personal or ideological connection to Israel, but these relationships would tend to grow over time (between contractors and the Israeli government.)

edit: The US as a whole gets nothing but hassle and cognitive dissonance out of the relationship, but just like any war racket, people producing the material for that war get wealthy enough to get their politicians elected and perpetuate the process.


This is an interesting framework and it seems apparent to sadly hold truth. The other framework is that it is nothing more than simply of course as anyone can easily see Jewish and pro-Israeli politicians, technocrats, billionaires, industry-leaders and lobbying groups frankly exist in such extreme disproportion to any other ethnic group in elite America that it would be surprising if they didn't have a special, privileged relationship. It is so easy to become a pariah just for simply stating this blatantly obvious state of affairs, or worse instantaneously lose your career for saying something like get out of Palestine such as how Helen Thomas did. One of my parents is Jewish, but I frankly despise racism, nepotism and nationalism and do care about living in a free and honest society and this topic clearly is one example where extreme cognitive dissonance, political correctness have made it into frankly Wrongthink. AFAIK there are only two countries to have openly attacked the US Navy and both received nuclear weapons though not delivered in the same way. AIPAC openly interferes with US elections. I'm not sure what good comes out of all of this, but if there is some I would like to at least know.


> frankly exist in such extreme disproportion to any other ethnic group in elite America

I do not think that this is true at all. A lot of interests converge in the US relationship with the Israeli state, but Judaism as a religion isn't the dominant partner. The US is full of antisemites, and the refusal of the US to take in refugees as WWII was brewing contributed to the intensity of the Holocaust, and the increase in Jewish support for the Zionist project.

You can easily become a pro-Israel politician if you are an antisemite who is taking money from a contractor (who is also antisemitic) who sells arms to Israel, and you're representing a state filled with evangelicals who believe that Israel will cause the second coming of Jesus Christ, who will either convert or condemn all of the Jews to eternal suffering.

Israel doesn't control anything, and the US doesn't intrinsically care about Israel (which is why it's constantly insecure in the relationship.) Wealthy people in the US use Israel for their own purposes, and Israel (largely Likudnik Israel) spends lots of time and effort to remain valuable to those people.

I think that a few old, terrible Jewish billionaires who think that their rabid support of Israel (through donating to US right-wingers) will get them into heaven despite their terrible personal and business ethics get an inordinate amount of attention, and end up characterizing all of Israeli lobbying for a lot of people.


Israel and Saudi Arabia are America's eyes and ears into the Middle East. It could have been any nation (indeed, America tried to get Iran as well, but was... less than successful).

These kinds of relationships require a fair bit of quid pro quo, and of course for a country like Israel whose very national security depends upon a cozy relationship with America, it's perfectly understandable that they'd be spying on American influencers wherever and whenever possible. In fact, it's unofficially tolerated in the intelligence service as a cost of doing business. Same goes for the foibles of the crown prince in Saudi Arabia (which have by now been conveniently forgotten by the press and everyone else).

Once you've made friends who are useful to your grander plans, it's best to ignore the annoying things they do.


It’s unfortunate we would rely on either of these countries to be our eyes and ears. Both are corrupt. Saudi appears worst to us in the west because their daily way of life isn’t so compatible with western values, especially with respect to religion in government (or freedom of, rather) and general human rights and women’s rights.

Israel appears to be democratic but discriminates heavily and are also driven to a great extent by extremist hardliners and outright corruption (ie Netanyahu's numbers are down, so he wants to annex more of the West Bank). Also, you’re not supposed to criticize anything they do out of fear of being labeled an anti Semite.


This is nothing new; The game of geopolitics is a dirty one, and you need sharp elbows to get your way. America's obsession with the Middle East was originally to counter the USSR, then later a quest to control oil prices so that their own producers wouldn't suffer. It's always played like a zero-sum game, which means that those in power will deal with unsavory characters if it means getting ahead.

The "anti semite" fears are an American thing; outside of America, nobody cares. And that's to be expected... Israel gets no help from anyone else, so why should she care what they think? America, however, is a mind to be guarded, to ensure that her protection remains in the future. And this is a perfectly reasonable tactical stance to take for someone in Israel's precarious position.

Obviously it's not so simple as this in reality. You have idealists and zealots and hardliners all jockeying for control within any given government. But the primary driving force is that of state security.


Accepting your premise, is there a non-corrupt alternative in the region?


This is key. If your filter is to never partner with countries who have done unethical things, you're never going to partner with anyone.


Iran of course.


Before you accuse Israel of discrimination, you should consider that 20% of Israelis are Arabs (compare that to 12% of Americans being black) and that Arabs had legal equality in Israel decades before blacks did in America.

The relationship between Israel and its Arab minority is much more nuanced than you think. I’d call it passive aggressive, going both ways.


> 20% of Israelis are Arabs

Does that include the Palestinians, do the Israeli government counts them as people?


They are not Israeli citizens, and therefore not counted under the Israeli populace.

The 20% I referred to are Israeli-Arabs.


> Before you accuse Israel of discrimination, you should consider that 20% of Israelis are Arabs (compare that to 12% of Americans being black) and that Arabs had legal equality in Israel decades before blacks did on America.

Why should that be considered?


Because it’s perceived as an ethno-state while it’s more diverse than most if not Alon oECD countries.

Because it’s been historically progressive in its relationship towards minorities.

Because it’s not like it’s persecuting a tiny group of the population for sport, it’s that there’s a lot of tugging between a minority and majority which are much further apart in culture, religion and traditions than the whites and blacks in America.

Because it’s reasonable to expect that issues appearing in the American societal fabric such as discrimination would show just as much in Israel with its huge proportional minority share.

It’s not that Israel is racist as much as it is that there are discrimination issues in societies everywhere and this is just another instance.


First of all, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the major sources of problems for the US. They US would need eyes and ears in the middle east if not for their relationship with these 2 countries.

The US spends billions on Israel itself, gives them more access then any other nation, they spend billions on paying of Egypt, the US lends international support on EVERY LEVEL, Israel was one of the primary drivers that got US into Iraq and tried their best (and they still are) to do the same with Iran. The relationship with Israel is one of the prime tools of propaganda for every single terrorist group in the Middle East. Israel is a rough stat that illegally acquired nuclear weapons and the list goes on and on.

9/11 was a direct caused by US the relationship with these nations. One of the main bombers prime motivation was revenge because of what Israel did in Lebanon, OBL own motivation was that US troupes should not be on Saudi soil (and that got him banned from Saudi Arabia). Because of the Saudi alliance Obama placated them by allowing a genocidal war in Yemen and people actually thought that is a reasonable thing to do. And I could go on about many more bad effects of this relationship.

Now I'm not saying these nations are uniquely evil and I'm not even saying the US should be allied with them in some way, but these relationships have grown far beyond what makes sense from the perspective of US population but not if you are in the political class.


I highly recommend “The Israel Lobby” by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UZQIF6/

“They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America's posture throughout the Middle East—in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America's national interest nor Israel's long-term interest. The lobby's influence also affects America's relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror.”


* An excuse to subsidize the US defence industry

* Improvements to US military technology (Israel tweaks stuff and then we use their tweaks)

* Anti-terrorism training and expertise (we started caring a lot more in 2001; they've been dealing with it longer than that)

* A liberal democracy in a part of the world without any others (whether or not you value this is up to you, but many Americans do)

* Intelligence

* A lot of American tech companies have offices in Israel, which means we have an interest in its stability and prosperity


The Liberal democracy value is highly debatable as shown by the treatment of the Arab spring as well as the strategic alliance with K.S.A.


In terms of R&D - Israel develops military research far cheaper than the US military industrial complex charges, and the results are shared back with the US. Some examples are the Iron Dome missile defense system, Predator Drones, Stuxnet, and early cell phone technology.


Stuxnet? Any references?


Here is an overview. There are many news articles and even documentaries on its origins. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3218104/what-is-stuxnet-wh...


Israel is a liberal democracy? Really, pretty sure its a Jewish state. Pretty sure the leaders of Israel would agree with me. Pretty sure this Jewish states has direct control over a couple million Muslims that are not allowed to vote.


> Really, pretty sure its a Jewish state. Pretty sure the leaders of Israel would agree with me.

Pretty sure the leaders of Israel have made it illegal, and the grounds for exclusion from the Knesset, to disagree with that statement.

But it's not accepted to point out that Israel is a distinctly illiberal state by it's overt, foundational policy.


During Israel's founding everyone who was an established resident in the territories was eligible for and offered first-class citizenship in the new state. Local Muslims and Christians who opted-in have enjoyed more prosperity and political representation over the decades than any of Israel's neighbors. Many minorities serve as leaders in the government, military, and private industry.

Israel's neighbors were the ones who encouraged Palestinian leaders to reject both citizenship and two-state solutions across multiple deal opportunities and instead opt for waging an endless violent rebellion. And when the coordinated wars were lost and the time came for offering aid, resources, and immigration opportunities - neighboring countries offered the Palestinians very little compared to the opportunities that Israel offers. They did not step up.


Yes the other arab states were morrons but there are millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control who not only lose their access to resources but also have no democratic representation at all.


They still act as morrons when they deny citizenship from the grandchildren of those who migrated from Israel 70+ years ago


The Palestinians have regular elections, not sure what you mean by no democratic representation.


Completely sure it is not "illegal, and the grounds for exclusion from the Knesset, to disagree with that statement."


> Completely sure it not "illegal, and the grounds for exclusion from the Knesset, to disagree with that statement."

“A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

“1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;

“2. incitement to racism;

“3. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.”

https://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic2_eng.htm


A party with an objective "negating the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state" is not the same as voicing disagreement. Almost half of the Knesset voted against 'Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People' basic law, and many regularly voice disagreement with this definition.


When you can arbitrarly define who is part of that democratic state and who is not, it is not democracy. The Palestinans are living under the control of the Jewish state and they have no right to vote.


That's not what being discussed in the above comments.


Actually, Muslim Israelis can and do vote. Non-citizens obviously can't, like anywhere else. The Palestinians have their own elections and government(s).

Putting aside the nuances of "Jewish state" and what that does or doesn't mean, if you go to Israel you will find a culture and a people far closer to American values than anywhere else in the region.


> you will find a culture and a people ... closer to American values than anywhere else in the region.

Perhaps true, but these days Lebanon is up in the running. They do have a weird approach to "power sharing" in government, but it's not like Israel is free from its own sort of weirdness, as you've mentioned.


By "power sharing" are you referring to Hizballah? I hope it's not too controversial to say that they don't exactly share American values.


The US gains access to effective intelligence networks in the Arab world and Iran, a useful testbed for anti-rocket and anti-mortar technology, forward military basing, and a variety of other benefits.


No idea, but they tolerated Israel blowing up a US navy ship and killing sailors so I'm sure they'll give this one a pass too.

>The attack "couldn't be anything else but deliberate," the NSA's director, Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, later told Congress.

>"I don't think you'll find many people at NSA who believe it was accidental," Benson Buffham, a former deputy NSA director, said in an interview.

>"I just always assumed that the Israeli pilots knew what they were doing," said Harold Saunders, then a member of the National Security Council staff and later assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.

>"So for me, the question really is who issued the order to do that and why? That's the really interesting thing."

>The answer, if there is one, will probably never be known. Gen. Moshe Dayan, then the country's minister of defense; Levi Eshkol, the Israeli prime minister; and Golda Meir, his successor, are all dead.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.h...


The (well-intentioned) mistake you're making is assuming US officials' top priority is the greater interests of America, rather than their own personal interests. You could just as easily ask what the US gets out of the special relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country ruled by murderous tyrants, and the country of origin of the majority of the 9/11 highjackers.

In the cases of both Israeli lobby influence and Saudi royal's influence, the answer is money and power. Our members of congress are very easily influenced by "donations", and those two groups happen to be particularly wealthy.

On the flip side, the Mossad and many other intelligence groups are particularly good at getting blackmail material on politicians. If you don't play ball and you get in their way, they have the ability to ruin your career as well.

In my opinion, I would say the turning point where the US started to prioritize Israel as an ally was after the Suez Crisis. "In October 1965 Eisenhower told Jewish fundraiser and Republican party supporter Max M. Fisher that he greatly regretted forcing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai peninsula; Vice-President Nixon recalled that Eisenhower expressed the same view to him on several occasions." [Alteras, Isaac (1993). Eisenhower and Israel: U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1953-1960].

After Eisenhower's presidency, JFK further strengthened this alliance:

"As president, Kennedy initiated the creation of security ties with Israel, and he is credited as the founder of the US-Israeli military alliance, which would be continued under subsequent presidents. Kennedy ended the arms embargo that the Eisenhower and Truman administrations had enforced on Israel. Describing the protection of Israel as a moral and national commitment, he was the first to introduce the concept of a "special relationship" (as he described it to Golda Meir) between the US and Israel.[207]"

One exception was when JFK resisted Israel's efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which they felt was crucial in their survival as a country. "In a May 1963 letter to Ben-Gurion, Kennedy wrote that he was skeptical and stated that American support to Israel could be in jeopardy if reliable information on the Israeli nuclear program was not forthcoming, Ben-Gurion repeated previous reassurances that Dimona was being developed for peaceful purposes." You'll note that he was assassinated only months later. Not to get all conspiracy theory, but I've always felt the timing was a bit suspect.

Long story short, the US as a nation may not get much benefit from the relationship, but the individual politicians do. Until we get rid of the concept of lobbies, PACs, and require all campaigns to be tax-funded, politicians will continue to serve the countries and groups that pay them, not the American populace.



> What's the US's argument from self-interest for tolerating this kind of thing?

It's tolerated because US engages in similar behavior against it's allies. Officially the perpetrator denies allegations, and unofficially they pay some undisclosed penance.

The only real thing of note was the lack of official rebuke from the Trump Administration.


[flagged]


Israel is absolutely not the boss. The US only started caring about Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when they clearly demonstrated they could effectively suppress their Arab neighbours with military might. It is the same as supporting the most powerful warlord in any other state (Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, the Shah of Iran, countless others), but projected over an entire region that also happens to contain Saudi Arabia.

This is also why the US has been funneling israel billions of dollars in aid to develop its military industry over the past few decades. US has gained plenty from this alliance, it has projected power in the Middle East through an ally that is terrifyingly overprepared for war, allowing it to maintain the artificial order in the Middle East and petrodollar dominance.


> terrifyingly overprepared for war

Given the number of times multiple of its neighbors have attempted to invade and destroy the country and the fact that many of the neighbors _still_ don't recognize Israel's legitimacy, I'm interested in how you figure Israel is "overprepared" for war. They seem just the right amount prepared, i.e. ready to fight a battle for their existence against multiple large enemies at the drop of a hat.

Given history and given the stakes (lost war could mean another genocide), why should Israel not be prepared at this level?


> If you try to end it, you'll be called antisemites, Holocaust deniers

You're downvoted, but this has absolutely been my observation as well


I'm no fan of Rep Ilhan Omar, but I find the antisemitism charges against her absurd. AIPAC alone spends almost $70 million per year, and we're supposed to pretend lobbying has nothing to do with our seemingly unconditional support for Israel?


> I'm no fan of Rep Ilhan Omar, but I find the antisemitism charges against her absurd.

Yes, that situation seems comparable to the smears of antisemitism thrown against Jeremy Corbyn too.


He's not wrong. They don't provide anything we couldn't get elsewhere.


>Israel is the boss, US is the muscle

>If you try to end it, you'll be called antisemites, Holocaust deniers, etc. until you submit.

>> this has absolutely been my observation as well

Have you considered that you've been called antisemites because you are. Not because you have experience with "try[ing] to end it"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism#Political_antisem...

US is not controlled by Israel and you're idiots for thinking that. There many logical ways to reach this conclusion, but just for fun here's a question: If it's so easy to control ~350m people of the US wouldn't the controllers be China or Russia? or wouldn't some rich cocaine manufacturer lobby its way to the congress and have that sold in supermarkets?

(I do realize that using the term "idiots" means I'll get downvotes, but isn't there an exception considering that they really are idiots (and antisemites))


Israel has unreasonable influence in the US. Speaking against them in any way can be career suicide for American politicians.

Dismissing criticism of Israel and the Israeli lobby as anti Semitic is just an attempt to control the conversation, nothing more.


Why do you think it has "unreasonable influence"? Keep in mind that my response above was to a couple of posts about Israel being "the boss" of the US. These are now flagged which makes me look bad I guess... But I'm not going to retract saying that thinking that Israel is the ruler of US is both idiotic and antisemite.


Many Americans care deeply about Israel. What’s wrong with that?


I am not sure how true that is more recently, at least in more liberal circles, although that is really besides the point.

I can criticize the American government and insult my president, and that’s generally more tolerable (although people may disagree) than criticizing the government of Israel.

You won’t be jailed but your reputation will be tarnished because the narrative has been that not supporting Israel 100% unconditionally is equivalent to being anti Semitic.

It’s just a move to shut down any discussion. We can debate gun reform, healthcare, climate bills, etc. we can criticize allies all over the world, but Israel should not be questioned.

If you don’t see the problem with that, you’re probably part of the problem.


You can disagree and criticise as long as you're not making antisemite claims. If you can't tell where this line stands you’re probably part of the problem.


Your first statement is inaccurate, and your second statement tries to reword something I said earlier but is written as a direct personal attack. Your other post already got flagged, but you just don’t stop.

In general, anyone who speaks against Israel policies is ridiculed as an anti Semite. Your post and your personal attacks are once more trying to control the discussion.


"In general, anyone who speaks against Israel policies is ridiculed as an anti Semite"

This is false. It's amazing that people actually think that when in practice many American politicians from all sides (including aipac itself) often speak against Israel.


No, it’s not false. AIPAC may have spoken against something very specific Israel did (such as denying American congresswomen entry) but in general, they and the Israeli lobby strong arm any opponents of Israeli policy.


I just want to point out that you went from "the narrative has been that not supporting Israel 100% unconditionally is equivalent to being anti Semitic." to "in general, they [aipac] and the Israeli lobby strong arm any opponents of Israeli policy."

Honestly, I'm not sure what aipac does or does not do, that's not the discussion I went into.


> So even if US is gaining nothing from it the alliance will continue as long as Israel needs it.

The US (and the rest of the Western economies) gains two very important things: first of all, an allied democracy with real military power that is sitting right next to Arabic dictatorship states where the US are, at best, viewed as the ultimate Satan - thus ensuring the US gets and keeps (!) access to cheap oil. The second thing is that all the military hardware Israel buys or gets "donated" as military aid by the US secures American, French and German jobs in the defense industry.

> If you try to end it, you'll be called antisemites, Holocaust deniers, etc. until you submit.

If you're really claiming Israel is the boss / "secret ruler", you don't need to complain about being called an antisemite. The trope of Israel / "shadow Jews" ruling the world is one of the oldest antisemitic conspiracy theories in history.


Aren't we only viewed as Satan because of our support for Israel? If we stopped our support for Israel, then OUR interests would be elevated over Israel's, which would be good for us but bad for Israel.

They really don't serve us that well for be our so-called "Greatest Ally."

You can't just hide behind "that's antisemitism" in all cases of analysis of Israel's influence in geopolitics and specifically in U.S politics ..it's not being intellectually honest


Thats a good point. If we weren't allied with Israel and didn't pick sides in the middle east, would we even need allies over there?


Just extend this logic to the Cold War and WWII. Why would America ever choose sides, right? Just let the Nazis take over Europe and USSR take over the rest. No enemies to worry about!


Until they attacked Pearl Harbor, we weren't involved...the American populace, largely, didn't want any involvement in a European War...


Well they conspicuously didn't until Pearl Harbor.


Saying that radical Islam would embrace USA’s existence without its support of Israel is delusional. USA stands against everything they believe in.

It just reeks of appeasement.


> USA stands against everything they believe in.

Is this a euphemism for saying "Many of these people have relatives killed by America or one of its puppet governments"?


Assuming you’re genuinely curious to know and not just echoing empty rhetoric, you may want to read this: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article...

The language Islamic radicals use to refer to the Westerns is often “crusaders”. It’s a conflict rooted in religion, not practicalities or modern time hostilities.

But I suggest you read the article, it’d be better for explaining the reality than a thousand argumentative HN posts.


I thought this "they hate us for our freedoms" line of reasoning went out of style 15+ years ago.


Maybe it went out of style, but it's not entirely wrong...


Well they don't hate us "because of our freedoms" they hate us because we meddle in and around the countries, overthrow their governments and kill their citizens.


It's still used by those that want to deflect away from the very odd and disadvantageous relationship we have with Israel...


You do realise that radical Islamist don't actually control any of the countries around Israel right? Or pretty much any country at all.

If anything US is allies with some worst ones in terms of supporting radical extremism.

But don't let facts get in the way of your propaganda.


There was a brief period when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt. Hezbullah controls a big chunk of southern Lebanon. Hamas controls Gaza. Maybe the facts are getting in the way of your point a little...


> There was a brief period when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt.

In the thats in the past. However they didn't break the peace agreement with Israel.

> Hamas controls Gaza

Gaza is not a country.

> Hezbullah controls a big chunk of southern Lebanon.

True on that but without Israel there Hezbollah would have little reason to oppose the US.

At the same time the reality is that Syria is militarly over, Jordan has made peace, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are basically allies, Turkey has no interest in attacking Israel, Egypt is incapable of true forign policy at the moment.

So we have basically all major powers, and Hezbullah.


Iran.

Iran has physical presence in Syria (Besides the Hezbullah proxy in Syria).

Gaza is an autonomous neighbor ruled by an Islamic terror organization being a country or not does not change the fact that missles are being launched at Israeli civilians every week.

There is still ISIS in Sinai. (And although the Islamic brotherhood lost control of the country, they are not gone)

yes. Jordan is quiet.

"True on that but without Israel there Hezbollah would have little reason to oppose the US." -You really have no idea how religious extremist work. Hezbullah has something against all non-(their kind of)-muslim

"the reality is that Syria is militarly over" -not really. ISIS is pretty much gone there but there is still a lot of fighting and it's not like the winners are the nice guys


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