Title: NSA Intelligence Relationship with Israel
Release Date: 2014-08-04
Document Date: 2013-04-19
Description: This internal NSA information paper, dated 19 April 2013, describes a “far reaching technical and analytic relationship” with Israel’s SIGINT National Unit (ISNU): see the Intercept article Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack, 4 August 2014.
Document: TOP SECRET//SI//NOFORN
National Security Agency/Central 19 April 2013
(TS//REL TO USA, ISR) Subject: NSA Intelligence Relationship with Israel
(TS//N F) NSA maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the
Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU) sharing information on access, intercept, targeting,
language, analysis and reporting. This SIGINT relationship has increasingly been the
catalyst for a broader intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel.
Significant changes in the way NSA and ISNU have traditionally approached SIGINT
have prompted an expansion to include other Israeli and U.S. intelligence organizations
such as CIA, Mossad, and Special Operation Division (SOD).
(U) Key Issues
(TS//SI//N F) The single largest exchange between NSA and ISNU is on targets in the
Middle East which constitute strategic threats to U.S. and Israeli interests. Building
upon a robust analytic exchange, NSA and ISNU also have explored and executed
unique opportunities to gain access to high priority targets. The mutually agreed upon
geographic targets include the countries of North Africa, the Middle East, the Persian
Gulf, South Asia, and the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union. Within that set of
countries, cooperation covers the exploitation of internal governmental, military, civil,
and diplomatic communications; and external security/inteiiigence organizations.
Regional Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and "Stateless'VIntemational
Terrorism comprise the exchanged transnational target set. A dedicated
communications line between NSA and ISNU supports the exchange of raw material, as
well as daily analytic and technical correspondence. Both NSA and ISNU have liaison
officers, who conduct foreign relations functions, stationed at their respective
(TS//REL TO USA, ISR) What NSA Provides to ISNU
(TS//SI//REL TO USA, ISR) The Israeli side enjoys the benefits of expanded geographic
access to world-class NSA cryptanalytic and SIGINT engineering expertise, and also
gains controlled access to advanced U.S. technology and equipment via
accommodation buys and foreign military sales.
(TS//REL TO USA, ISR) What ISNU Provides to NSA
(TS//SI//REL TO USA, ISR) Benefits to the U.S. include expanded geographic access to
high priority SIGINT targets, access to world-class Israeli cryptanalytic and SIGINT
engineering expertise, and access to a large pool of highly qualified analysts.
Derived From: NSA/CSSM 1-52
Declassify On: 20371101
(U) Success Stories _
(TS//SI//REL TO USA, ISR)Akey priority for ISNU is the Iranian nuclear development
program, followed by Syrian nuclear efforts, Lebanese Hizballah plans and intentions,
Palestinian terrorism, and Global Jihad. Several recent and successful joint operations
between NSA and ISNU have broadened both organizations’ ability to target and exploit
Iranian nuclear efforts. In addition, a robust and dynamic cryptanalytic relationship has
enabled breakthroughs on high priority Iranian targets.
(TS//REL TO USA, ISR) NSA and ISNU continue to initiate joint targeting of Syrian and
Iranian leadership and nuclear development programs with CIA, ISNU, SOD and
Mossad. This exchange has been particularly important as unrest in Syria continues,
and both sides work together to identify threats to regional stability. NSA’s cyber
partnerships expanded beyond ISNU to include Israeli Defense Intelligence’s SOD and
Mossad, resulting in unprecedented access and collection breakthroughs that all sides
acknowledge would not have been possible to achieve without the others.
(TS//SI//NF) In July 2012, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
provided guidance for expanded sharing with the GOI (Government of Israel) on Egypt.
This approval has allowed NSA to task for ISN U on select strategic issues, specifically
terrorist elements in the Sinai.
(S//NF) Beyond the traditional SIGINT relationship, NSA and ISNU signed aMOU in
September 2011 providing for Information Assurance/Computer Network Defense
collaboration. NSA’s Information Assurance Deputy Director attended an IA/CND
conference in Tel Aviv in January 2012 during which NSA and ISN U established
objectives for the relationship. NSA intends to focus the collaboration on cyber threats
from Iran, Hizballah and other regional actors and may provide limited, focused support
on specific Russian and Chinese cyber threats. Conferences to further develop this
partnership were held in May 2012 and December 2012.
(TS//SI//REL TO USA, ISR) NSA and ISNU led their communities in the establishment
of U.S. - Israeli Intelligence Community VTC connectivity that allows both sides to
broaden and accelerate the pace of collaboration against targets’ use of advanced
telecommunications. Target sets include, but are not limited to Iran Nuclear, Syrian
Foreign Fighter movements, Lebanese Hizballah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps activities. Dialogue is ongoing, with each potential new intelligence or technology
initiative considered for approval individually.
(TS//NF)The three most common concerns raised by ISNU regarding the partnership
with NSA is NSA’s reluctance to share on technology that is not directly related to a
specific target, ISN U’s perceived reduction in the amount and degree of cooperation in
certain areas, and the length of time NSA takes to decide on ISN U proposals. Efforts in
these three areas have been addressed with the partner and NSA continues to work to
increase cooperation with ISNU, where appropriate and mindful of U.S. policy and
(U//FOUO) Updated by:
Country Desk Officer
Foreiqn Affairs Directorate