According to a new lot of documents leaked by the popular whistleblower Edward Snowden, the US and British intelligence agencies have hacked for years into Israeli Air Surveillance under an operation codenamed Anarchist. Snowden, who served as an intelligence contractor for the NSA, leaked the secret documents in 2013.
Yediot Aharonot that reported the news, revealed that the Anarchist operation began in 1998 at the US National Security Agency (NSA) site at Menwith Hill (UK) and at the British facility in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus. The Western intelligence was monitoring the Israeli surveillance operations conducted in the Middle East involving a fleet of drones.
“Under a classified program code-named “Anarchist,” the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, working with the National Security Agency, systematically targeted Israeli drones from a mountaintop on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.” states The Intercept.
The Yediot first reported the information in the documents to the Israeli military censor, later it decided to publish them.
“From the documents it emerges that Israel operates a large fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles,” states the Yediot. “They collect intelligence in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and throughout the Middle East and were even used according to the editors (of the Snowden files) for gathering intelligence to plan the bombing of Iran.”
The secret documents for the first time published images of armed Israeli drones, they also revealed that UK and British spies breached the F16 fighter pilots’ heads-up display.
“It’s as if they sat with them in the cockpit,” the paper wrote. “It’s a look into the secret Israeli combat world,” it said. “Potential targets, aims, priorities and capabilities, from Israel’s view of its enemies. The United States and Britain profited from Israel’s superb intelligence abilities and saw everything that Israel saw.”
“On January 3, 2008, as Israel launched airstrikes against Palestinian militants in Gaza, U.S. and British spies had a virtual seat in the cockpit.” continues The Intercept. “Satellite surveillance operators at Menwith Hill, an important NSA site in England, had been tasked with looking at drones as the Israeli military stepped up attacks in Gaza in response to rockets fired by Palestinian militants, according to a 2008 year-end summary from GCHQ. In all, Menwith Hill gathered over 20 separate drone videos by intercepting signals traveling between Israeli drones and orbiting satellites.”
The Israeli authorities don’t provide any official comments to the document, Yuval Steinitz, minister of energy and a former intelligence minister, expressed his disappointment:
“We are not surprised. We know that the Americans spy on everyone including us, their friends,” he told Israeli army radio. “It’s disappointing nonetheless because of the fact that for decades we haven’t spied or gathered intelligence or broken codes in the United States.”
According to the Yediot, these last collection of documents will have a serious impact on the Israeli intelligence, it quoted an unnamed senior Israeli intelligence official describing the latest report as “an earthquake.”
“Apparently none of our encoded communications devices are safe from them,” states an unnamed senior Israeli intelligence official quoted by the Yediot.
(Security Affairs – Anarchist operation, intelligence)