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State Department Refuses to Deny Israel Spies on U.S., Feinstein Dubious as Well

Dianne feinstein

Feinstein: “My God, did Steinitz really say that?”

The Netanyahu government is in a dither over Jeff Stein’s series of Newsweek reports about Israeli spying in the U.S.  They’ve wheeled out big guns like Amos Yadlin who’ve called Stein “delusional” and foreign ministry officials who’ve called Stein an “anti-Semite.”  But they’ve gone one step farther in sending Yuval Steinitz, the minister for intelligence, to Washington to meet with key Congressional leaders like Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The California senator, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee and is a leading water-carrier for Aipac, wasn’t totally convinced by Steinitz’s protestations (if you read between the lines of this statement, which is pure DC speak):

“I met with the minister of intelligence this morning…” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after meeting Tuesday on Capitol Hill with Israeli National Security and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who had vowed publicly to take up with her Newsweek stories describing Israeli spying on the United States as wide-ranging and pervasive.

But Feinstein’s account of their meeting stopped short of an endorsement of Steinitz’s vociferous denials that Israel spied on the United States.

“He was very direct in saying this is totally false, and he assured me that such was not the case,” Feinstein said in an interview on Tuesday with CQ Roll Call (sub. required), a newspaper that specializes in Congressional coverage.

“I accept him at face value, yes,” she added, “Until I find to the contrary.”

“I’ll do my due diligence too,” she added.

Feinstein, despite my reservations about her politics, is no fool.  She knows that Steinitz is lying, therefore she said nothing herself that could be construed as a lie.  That’s also the case with the State Department, whose spokesperson was asked point blank by the Jerusalem Post, whether it disputed Newsweek’s findings:

The State Department declined to refute reports that Israel regularly spies on the United States, and has for decades…

Asked by The Jerusalem Post to confirm or contextualize the allegations, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki only said…:

“We don’t comment on intelligence matters,” Psaki said. “We have a close intelligence partnership with Israel, and value our cooperation with them in this field because it serves our mutual interests.”

Ouch! That must hurt, Gen. Yadlin. The latter demanded, in the Israeli press, that his personal friends in the U.S. intelligence apparatus stand tall for Israel. Instead, there’s been this same sort of yawning silence that you heard in the above non-denial denials.

As an aside, along with Steinitz’s national security and intelligence portfolio, there are at least five ministries that deal with security of various sorts: interior, public security, home front, defense.  What does that tell you about Only Democracy in the Middle East?  A tad security-obsessed perhaps?

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Nonsense May 15, 2014, 7:02 AM

    You mean to tell us that in the USA there is a smaller number of ministries that deal with security of various sorts?

    let’s see:
    1. Department of transportation – TSA. 2. Homeland Security, 3. Defense,4. Department of Interior – Law enforcement division 5. Secretary of the navy. n What does that tell you about the biggest Democracy in the world ? A tad security-obsessed perhaps?

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2014, 3:21 PM

      @ Nonsense: You’ve only named four departments which include a security component. The Department of the Navy is not a cabinet level position, which is equivalent to an Israeli ministry. It reports to the Defense Department. So a country of 350 million has four security departments and a country of 7 million has FIVE security ministries. Interesting.

      • Marc May 15, 2014, 8:51 PM

        That multitude of ministries has less to do with security and more to do with sinecures.

  • Renfro May 15, 2014, 7:02 AM

    Who would have ever believed that we went from overthrowing King George in the American Revolution to being owned by a minority foreign lobby and their foreign country.
    I’d like to live long enough to see how all this ends because the only thing I believe for certain is that it cant last.
    Faster please.

    • pabelmont May 15, 2014, 9:02 AM

      At age 75, I agree. Faster please! Let’s throw off the imperial yoke.

  • Nonsense May 15, 2014, 9:07 AM

    Chuck Hagel stated today during a news conference in Tel-Aviv during the QA period: “I have head about the report (news week) but am not aware of any substantial information / facts in it) – source channel news 10 the 7 PM edition, i’m sure it will be covered extensively in the later edition.

  • Jackdaw May 15, 2014, 10:02 AM

    So neither Hagel nor Feinstein know anything about Israeli ‘spying’ on the United States.

    Hard to believe that a top ranking US Senator and a White House Secretary would lie just to protect Israel.

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2014, 3:18 PM

      @ Jackdaw: You didn’t read what Feinstein said very carefully. She said that she heard his argument. Clearly she heard it but didn’t believe it. As an honorable person, she told Steinitz that she will accept his explanation until she sees evidence to the contrary, and that she WILL affirmatively seek out that evidence. That’s not an endorsement by any means. As I wrote, this is Washington speak for: I don’t believe a word of it.

      As for Hagel, he said:

      “I have heard of that report. I’m not aware of any facts that would substantiate the report.”

      Saying he isn’t aware of “facts” is a far cry from denying the charge as you should know. It means he claims not to have seen incontrovertible evidence he’s satisfied can be called “facts.” In other words, he’s heard lots of reports & possibly even seen evidence supporting them. But somehow hasn’t determined yet that they’re “facts.” Again, Washington speak.

      These two are parsing their words extremely carefully, and for good reason. Everyone including the Israelis know they’re lying. So everyone who wants to give Israel the benefit of the doubt has to tiptoe carefully so as not to speak what can afterwards be construed as an outright lie. Unlike Israel, politicians who provably lie sometimes are held accountable for their lies.

      • Nonsense May 15, 2014, 4:04 PM

        Mr. Silverstein
        in Washington terms they would designate your response to mr. Jackdaw as a response that stem from an extremely vivid imagination.

        The fact that you keep hashing a story proven to be wrong, and stated as such by the Senator Feinstein and Secretary Hagel is simply unbelievable. I guess such determination is required when dealing with the ultimate daemon created by one’s vivid imagination (such is the state of Israel to you.)

        • Richard Silverstein May 16, 2014, 6:18 PM

          @ Nonsense: I already soundly rebutted the false claim that either Hagel or Feinstein said Stein’s reporting was wrong. I’m not going to entertain any further discussion on this subject from you. Move on to another thread. You’re on very thin ice.

    • Richard Silverstein May 16, 2014, 6:20 PM

      @ Jackdaw: Neither Hagel nor Feinstein said they know “nothing” about Israeli spying here. Hagel said he didn’t know this as a “fact,” whatever that means. Feinstein said she would take Steinitz at his word till she knew differently & that she would energetically pursue any evidence that proved him wrong. That’s completely different than what you claim they said or believe.

  • Elisabeth May 15, 2014, 11:28 AM

    Chuck Hagel is “unaware”. He was grilled over his loyalty to Israel quite a bit when he was nominated, I understand.
    I looked at the Wikipedia articel on him and had some fun: Iraq was mentioned 32 times in it and Afghanistan 12 times (after all the US went to war in those countries). Israel on the other hand was mentioned no less than 30 times (while Russia was only mentioned 12 times and China once). US politics are truly unusual.

    • Jackdaw May 15, 2014, 1:11 PM

      [comment deleted: off topic]

  • The Rahnameh May 15, 2014, 8:43 PM

    One turd: Jonathan Pollard. The reactions here to the truth are priceless, the same old tricks and useless.

    The American intelligence community will openly revolt if Benedict Pollard is so much as given an extra serving of prison slop at meal time. These are just shots (tiny ones) across the bow. There is enough verifiable dirt on Israel’s actions from the last ten years alone to cause every American on Earth to demand an invasion and controlled siege of Dimona.

    It’s time to quit while ahead, but I don’t see that coming. The nutsos behind it all WANT the strong wave of anti-Semitism to fill their fantasied “Greater Israel” like a Havaara agreement. Too bad. They will get prosecuted for anything but something they can use those same old tricks to deflect.

    Question: what does everyone here think Donald “Sterling” Tokowitz was REALLY doing with his money? Does anyone think Grimm is the only restaurant owner to have illegals running his operations in NYC? And the rich Orthodox rabbi that recently got caught embezzling $12MM from a special needs preschool? What were they all really doing behind the scenes?

    Answer: Treason/Foreign Espionage. There is more than one way to skin a cat, there are no statute of limitations on treason, and the unaccountability was just temporary and illusionary. The jig is up.

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