Is Jordanian intelligence spying on Jordanian citizens for NSA and CIA?

[21-05-2014 10:56 AM]

Ammon News - By Ali Younes // the Arab Daily News

When I reported back in December that published Edward Snowden’s documents showed Jordan ranked third in the world, after Pakistan and Iran, in the amount of internet traffic and data that was secretly collected by the National Security Agency, NSA, the key question was, why Jordan? Jordan, after all, is perhaps one of the most trusted US allies in the region and in the World, it is also a major US partner in the US “ war on terror” and a close non-NATO ally that also participated in the US war in Afghanistan.

The latest documents revealed by the journalist Glen Greenwald in his book “No Place to Hide” finally shed more light on the issue and why Jordan is subjected to this intense spying and data collection by the NSA. In the book, Greenwald shows documents that Jordan had in 2012 received about one million and two hundred thousand dollars from the NSA to develop electronic spying capabilities that will ultimately serve the NSA’s objectives. Jordan once again ranked high and second only to Pakistan which received about two and half million dollars to develop electronic spying capabilities for the NSA.

Does this mean that the Jordanian intelligence Department, GID or the “Mukhabarat” was getting paid to spy on the Jordanian citizens? Or that it facilitated the NSA to spy on Jordanians?

It is certainly a plausible scenario, because the history of cooperation between the Jordanian intelligence and the US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the NSA shows that Jordan would go to almost any length to work with and for the US spying agencies to serve the US objectives around the world. An example of this partnership is the Jordanians cooperation with the CIA in its “rendition program” that kidnapped alleged terrorists from around the world and housed them in secret locations for interrogation that included torture. The CIA nick name of the Jordanian Mukhabarat is ” the fingernail factory”

Jordan, therefore, does not object to the US spying on its own citizens, nor has the capabilities to prevent the world most advanced electronic spying agency from spying on the communications of the six or seven million Jordanian citizens including King Abdullah II himself if it wanted to.

NSA spokeswoman Vani Vines told the Arab Daily News in an email about the latest information regarding Jordan in Greenwald’s book, stating that:

“It is NSA’s mandate to identify threats within the large and complex system of modern global communications. NSA does not conduct signals intelligence collection in any country, or anywhere in the world, unless it is necessary to advance US national security and foreign policy interests and to protect its citizens and the citizens of its allies and partners from harm.”

Obviously the Jordanian government is not a threat to the US interests anywhere in the world, but maybe Jordanian citizens or political parties or groups in Jordan are, thus the spying on Jordan-possibly facilitated by the Jordanian Mukhabarat- is so intense and comprehensive.

Although the amount of money Jordan received from NSA is a paltry sum comparing to what it receives from the CIA for its cooperation with it to serve, ultimately, the US foreign policy objectives in the region.

Jordan, however, ranked in tier B, in the NSA classification of countries that it works with but also the subject of intense US spying. Other glen greenwaldArab countries included in these groups are Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and UAE and countries like Israel, India, Pakistan, Germany, Sweden, and Greece. Tier A, include the four other English-speaking countries that NSA work with and does not spy on. They are Great Brittan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Together they form what is called the “Five Eyes” together they hold an annual conference to discuss the latest development and mutual cooperation.

Unlike Jordan, Israel’s relation with NSA is almost one way in favor of Israel, not the US. Greenwald revealed in his book NSA secret documents that showed the NSA complaint that Israel is very aggressive in its spying on the US while it receives troves of intelligence data that include intelligence about US citizens -which should be illegal- but “produced very little in return.” Compared to Israel, Jordan’s ipprelationship with the US spying agencies is almost slavish and serves the US interests only.

Vines also told the Arab Daily News that the NSA work within the US legal limits and in accordance with the US laws. She said “NSA’s operations must be strictly conducted under the rule of law. But Greenwald described the Obama statements in this regards as “ false” and described many leaders of Congress especially California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Ron Wyden, another Democrat from Oregon as “ apologists “ for the NSA who engage in a cover up instead of providing oversight of the intelligence community.

Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News. He can be reached at :, and on twitter @clearali.

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