Israeli officials call NSA eavesdropping business as usual

Nov. 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Israeli officials said eavesdropping by the National Security Agency was business as usual, projecting a calm reaction to spying that has alarmed others.

"This doesn't surprise me," said Energy Minister Silvan Shalom Sunday, referring to a New York Times report concerning the NSA monitoring "high priority military targets."

Shalom, a former foreign minister, said he was warned when he first took public office that "the whole world was listening."

"This was the basic working assumption," he said.

Israeli officials, in stark contrast to the indignation projected by officials in other countries, have mostly shrugged off the NSA spying issue, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Dov Weissglass, an adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said much the same thing as Shalom On an Israel Radio broadcast.

"Everyone listens to everyone else all the time," Weissglass said, noting that "sensitive issues are not to be communicated by electronic means."

U.S. spying on Israeli officials in the United States was revealed in 2010, when FBI linguist Shamai Leibowitz was sent to prison for leaking classified information to an Internet columnist.

Leibowitz's work with the FBI, it was revealed at the time, included translating wiretapped conversations among Israeli diplomats, the Times said.

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