Debate Flares Over
By Marc Perelman
Forward, Thu. Oct 23, 2008
A bestselling author writing about
Investigative writer James Bamford contends in his new book,
"The Shadow Factory, the Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping
Bamford has written about the NSA, which conducts a wide array of electronic-surveillance activities, over the last quarter century. While some of the revelations in his latest book – NSA's failure to act upon crucial information that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks and the abuses of the eavesdropping program – have received praise in the mainstream press, his Israel-related claims have been ignored by most and criticized by a few.
Michael Oren, an Israeli-American historian with the
"Bamford makes far-reaching and unsubstantiated
allegations about Jews and
Bamford did not return inquiries seeking comment. And a spokesman for one of the companies named in the book said it did not engage in surveillance activities.
In a previous book, "Body of Secrets," published
in 2001, Bamford wrote that the bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty was intended to
keep it from gathering data on what the author said was the Israeli massacre of
hundreds of Egyptian prisoners of war.
In his latest book, published in October by DoubleDay,
Bamford writes that the largest American telecommunications companies
cooperated with the NSA in the "warrantless eavesdropping program by
allowing the agency to tap its phone lines and fiber-optic cables." To do
so, he writes, the telecom giants resorted to the assistance of at least two
high-tech firms, Narus and Verint, founded in
Narus and Verint were involved in tapping phone and Internet communications for, respectively, AT&T and Verizon.
"AT&T have outsourced the bugging of their entire networks — carrying billions of American communications every day -— to two mysterious companies with very troubling ties to foreign connections," he writes. "What is especially troubling, but little known, is that both companies have extensive ties to a foreign country, Israel, as well as links to that country's intelligence service — a service with a long history of aggressive spying against the U.S."
He then describes close ties between the Mossad's Unit 8200,
which he describes as the Israeli equivalent of the NSA, and several other
Israeli high-tech companies doing business with the
Bamford also stresses that the founder of Verint systems is
wanted in the
Both Verint and Narus were founded by Israelis and are now
based in the
Narus CEO Greg Oslan told the Forward through spokesperson
Kathleen Shanahan that "the only ties Narus has with
The Israeli embassy in
Bamford, 62, served in a Navy unit that worked with the NSA during the Vietnam War. He then studied law before deciding to become an investigative writer. He also served as a producer for ABC News.
His first book on the NSA, published in 1982, was praised
for shedding a rare light on an agency so shrouded in secrecy that its acronym
is sometimes jokingly referred to as "No Such Agency." His second
book, published in 2001, hailed the agency for putting in place strong
safeguards on its domestic spying activities. The latest one's revelations that
the NSA was listening in without proper warrants on the conversations of
American soldiers, aid workers and reporters based in
One exception is former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who in
an otherwise favorable review published in the Washington Post, squarely
disagreed with Bamford on
Please report any
broken links to
Copyright © 1988-2012 irfi.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer