News Release

NSA, Palantir “Feed Israel’s Killing Machine in Gaza”

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JAMES BAMFORD, washwriter@gmail.com, @WashAuthor
Bamford is author of SpyFail, The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets. He just wrote the piece “How U.S. Intelligence and an American Company Feed Israel’s Killing Machine in Gaza” for The Nation magazine.

Bamford says the U.S. government “is not only providing the bombs and missiles used to slaughter innocent Palestinians and brave aid workers, it is also secretly providing the highly advanced intel and AI to target them.”

He describes the facilities and outlines the activities of a number of Israeli government agencies in Camp Dayan, writing: “But by far the most secret is the headquarters of Unit 8200, which specializes in eavesdropping, codebreaking, and cyber warfare — Israel’s equivalent of the American National Security Agency. One of Unit 8200’s newest and most important organizations is the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Center, which, according to a spokesman, was responsible for developing the AI systems that ‘transformed the entire concept of targets in the IDF.’ Back in 2021, the Israeli military described its 11-day war on Gaza as the world’s first ‘AI war.’ Israel’s ongoing invasion of Gaza offers a more recent — and devastating — example.

“More than 70 years ago, that same patch of land was home to the Palestinian village of Ajleel, until the residents were killed or forced to abandon their homes and flee in fear during the Nakba in 1948. Now, soldiers and intelligence specialists are being trained at Camp Moshe Dayan to finish the job — to bomb, shoot, or starve to death the descendants of the Palestinians forced into the squalor of militarily occupied Gaza decades ago. …

“As one of the world’s most advanced data-mining companies, with ties to the CIA, Palantir’s ‘work’ was supplying Israel’s military and intelligence agencies with advanced and powerful targeting capabilities — the precise capabilities that allowed Israel to place three drone-fired missiles into three clearly marked aid vehicles. …

“Even Palantir CEO Alex Karp has argued that ‘the power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems is now so great that it equates to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones.’… I have asked myself, ‘If I were younger at college, would I be protesting me?’ …

“Recently, a number of Karp’s employees decided to quit rather than be involved with a company supporting the ongoing genocide in Gaza. And in London’s Soho Square, dozens of pro-Palestine protesters and health workers gathered at Palantir’s UK headquarters to accuse the firm of being ‘complicit‘ in war crimes. …

“After fleeing to Hong Kong in 2013 with a pocket full of flash drives containing some of the agency’s highest secrets, [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden ended up in Moscow where, soon after he arrived, I met with him for Wired magazine. And in the interview, he told me that ‘one of the biggest abuses‘ he saw while at the agency was how the NSA secretly provided Israel with raw, unredacted phone and e-mail communications between Palestinian Americans in the U.S. and their relatives in the occupied territories. Snowden was concerned that as a result of sharing those private conversations with Israel, the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank would be at great risk of being targeted for arrest or worse. …

“In 2014 — more than a year after Snowden turned up in Moscow — Unit 8200’s targeting of innocent Palestinian in the occupied territories was so extreme that it even caused 43 veterans of the unit, including many serving in the reserves, to go public and accuse the organization of startling abuses. They declared that they had a ‘moral duty’ to no longer ‘take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians.’ …

“The most in-depth examination of the connection between AI and the massive numbers of innocent Palestinian men, women, and children slaughtered in Gaza by Israel comes from an investigation recently published by +972 Magazine and Local Call. …

“Now, with Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza, critical information from NSA continues to be used by Unit 8200, according to a number of sources, to target tens of thousands of Palestinians for death — often with U.S.-supplied 2,000-pound bombs and other weapons. And it is extremely powerful data-mining software, such as that from Palantir, that helps the IDF to select targets.”