- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One of Israel’s top security experts said the world’s reaction to America’s spy scandal has been a bit over-the-top, reminiscent of one scene in the classic Hollywood blockbuster, “Casablanca,” for its shocked — shocked! — undertones.

And Tel Aviv’s reaction to the notion that American intelligence may also have spied on Israel?

Of course it has.

“I think it is almost a universal assumption that everyone tries to spy on everyone,” said Mark Heller, with the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, to Fox News. “Since the U.S., by virtue of its resources, if nothing else, is the most capable, then it is probably best to assume that it does or has done in the past to Israel what it has apparently done to its other friends and allies.”

To think otherwise is naive, Mr. Heller said. And getting outraged and indignant — as France, Spain and Germany have done — is laughable, he said, in Fox News.

“It’s almost a given,” he said, in Fox News. “The whole story reminds me of the scene from ‘Casablanca’ when the chief of police is shocked to find out that there is gambling going on in the casino.”

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On top of that, an ex-Israeli spy agent, Danny Yatom, said Israel pretty much expects its ally America to spy.

“The Americans rightly see themselves as a superpower, but wrongly feel that they can do whatever they want, including the eavesdropping,” said Mr. Yatom, the former chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, in an Israeli newspaper. “I can tell you with certain knowledge that [America] has been listening in on its allies, including Israel.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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