There are No Friendly Intelligence Services

The discovery of the alleged phone surveillance equipment near The White House allegedly placed by the Israelis is not surprising. You learn quickly in the intelligence world there are no friendly intelligence services.

The placement of the spying devices reminds me of the story of Jonathan Pollard, an American intelligence analyst who was recruited by Mossad to spy on the American intelligence community despite our close cooperation on numerous investigations and intelligence concerns. A few years ago, I wrote about Pollard on, discussing the case and the betrayal we felt after learning about the operation against us. You can read the full piece at the link at the end of this post, but here are a few excerpts.

In short, we in the national security business believed our friendship with Israel was far deeper than the veneer of diplomatic niceties.  

We were wrong. 

A piece of The Berlin Wall (author’s collection).

A piece of The Berlin Wall (author’s collection).

While spying for the Israelis in 1984 and 1985, Pollard delivered Mossad, Israel's spy agency, more than 800 classified documents — suitcases full at a time — and 1,500 daily intelligence summary wrap-up messages. After he was discovered, a deep fog of anger settled over the U.S. intelligence community. We felt betrayed, not only (or even primarily) by Pollard but by Israel — and specifically, by the Israeli intelligence service.

The Pollard affair is a grim reminder that spying is a tough and dirty business, even among countries that consider themselves friends and allies. The handshakes and smiles that take place in diplomatic circles are a facade, beneath which every government and its intelligence agencies operate in an intensely suspicious and dangerous atmosphere.

Read the full article at