On March 30, the Colonel challenged this blog’s readers to answer his question: “What has Israel EVER done for the US?”
There have been 73 posts so far, but no one has yet answered the question – though J did proffer one Tartar (sic, ouch) contribution.* So I propose not one, but three candidates: Comverse, Verint, and Narus. As James Bamford recently explained in his article, “Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the US for the NSA”:
…Secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actualbugging of the entire US telecommunications network. According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon….At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus….What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the US.
Policymakers in the Bush and Obama administrations, who since 9/11 have determined that the warrantless wiretapping of millions of Americans is a good thing, are thus faced with aparadox. To best secure their objective, they must rely on Israeli-born companies - but these companies may not be so secure. It reminds me of an old Jewish joke:
My brother is impossible. He thinks he’s a chicken.
Why don’t you send him to a psychiatrist?
I can’t. I need the eggs.
Verint was incorporated in Delaware and is now headquartered in Melville, New York. Boeing acquired Narus in July 2010. Many of the engineers in both companies are American, and much of the tech behind the companies' innovations is US-derived. So my question is, does the NSA need the eggs?
*Incidentally, other notable Tatar contributors to America’s cultural life include Rudolf Nureyev, Charles Bronson, and Irina Shayk. RST