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Friday, June 14

How was Israel involved in collecting US communications intel for the NSA?
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Were Israeli companies Verint and Narus the ones that collected information from the U.S. communications network for the National Security Agency?

By TheMarker, Haaretz,The Associated Press and Reuters 

The question arises amid controversy over revelations that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans every day, creating a database through which it can learn whether terror suspects have been in contact with people in the United States. It also was disclosed this week that the NSA has been gathering all Internet usage - audio, video, photographs, emails and searches - from nine major U.S. Internet providers, including Microsoft and Google, in hopes of detecting suspicious behavior that begins overseas.

According to an article in the American technology magazine "Wired" from April 2012, two Israeli companies – which the magazine describes as having close connections to the Israeli security community – conduct bugging and wiretapping for the NSA.

Verint, which took over its parent company Comverse Technology earlier this year, is responsible for tapping the communication lines of the American telephone giant Verizon, according to a past Verizon employee sited by James Bamford in Wired. Neither Verint nor Verizon commented on the matter.

Natus, which was acquired in 2010 by the American company Boeing, supplied the software and hardware used at AT&T wiretapping rooms, according to whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed the information in 2004. Klein, a past technician at AT&T who filed a suit against the company for spying on its customers, revealed a "secret room" in the company's San Fransisco office, where the NSA collected data on American citizens' telephone calls and Internet surfing.

Klein's claims were reinforced by former NSA employee Thomas Drake who testified that the agency uses a program produced by Narus to save the personal electrical communications of AT&T customers.

Both Verint and Narus have ties to the Israeli intelligence agency and the Israel Defense Forces intelligence-gathering unit 8200. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the 8200 unit, told Forbes magazine in 2007 that Comverse's technology, which was formerly the parent company of Verint and merged with it this year, was directly influenced by the technology of 8200. Ori Cohen, one of the founders of Narus, told Fortune magazine in 2001 that his partners had done technology work for the Israeli intelligence.
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