Israel's NSA

(Forbes) Richard Behar - The primary function of Unit 8200 of the Israel Defense Forces is to quietly protect the tiny country from its numerous hostile neighbors by decrypting computer codes and intercepting electronic signals. Israeli investigative reporter and national security expert Yossi Melman noted: "The most advanced country in the region, which is devoting a lot of resources to cyberwarfare, is Iran. And the Iranians are trying to attack Israeli computers - civilian, military, intelligence - day and night....With Iranian technology, expertise and advice, Hizbullah [in Lebanon] is also trying to listen and to use coded messages." Stuxnet, the computer worm that at one point [2007-8] ravaged Iran's nuclear program, "was a U.S.-Israeli joint venture. It involved 8200 and its counterpart, the NSA, and also the Mossad and the CIA. The idea was Israeli, and it was embraced by the Americans because the U.S. believed it would repel Israeli pressure to take military action against Iran." "The Americans also liked it because it was a new kind of a war without firing [traditional] weapons. And they realized that if they did it, it would reduce the risk and chance that the U.S. would have to launch military strikes against Iran. The Bush Administration approved it and the Obama Administration extended the program and accelerated it." "Israel does not have interests all over the world. It's small, resource-limited and therefore it doesn't have a wide agenda like the U.S. It has to focus and prioritize - and they are very, very good at that. There are areas in the Middle East where 8200 is better than the NSA." "The NSA has the capability to listen to every conversation in the world. But you need to understand the nuances of language and cultures....In that sense, 8200 and Israeli intelligence at large - because they are focusing on Israel's enemies in the Middle East - in some parts of its coverage it has a better understanding of what's going on than the American intelligence community does."

2016-05-13 00:00:00

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