The United States and Great Britain have, for quite some time, been monitoring secret sorties and communications maintained by Israel‘s air force in a hacking operation dating back to 1998, according to documents attributed to leaks by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Most reasonably, Israel has voiced disappointment at these disclosures, and, has strongly suggested that these actions will further strain already unpleasant relations with Washington after years of feuding over strategies on Iran and the Palestinians.
Israel‘s Yedioth Ahronoth publication has said that the U.S. National Security Agency, which specializes in electronic surveillance, and, its British counterpart GCHQ, have both consistently spied upon Israeli air force missions against the Palestinian enclave Gaza, Syria and Iran.
The spy operation, code-named “Anarchist,” was operated from a Cyprus base and targeted other Middle East states as well. “This access is indispensable for maintaining an understanding of Israeli military training and operations and thus an insight to possible future developments in the region,” the publication The Intercept quoted a classified GCHQ report as saying in 2008.
That year, Israel went to war against Hamas guerrillas in Gaza and began issuing increasingly vocal threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if it deemed international diplomacy insufficient to deny its arch-foe the means of making a bomb. Asked for comment, the United States and Britain said through spokespeople for their embassies in Israel that they “do not publicly discuss intelligence matters”.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, sought to play down the potential damage but said lessons would be learned. “I do not think that this is the deepest ‘kingdom of secrets’, but it is certainly something that should not happen, which is unpleasant,” he told Israel‘s Army Radio. “We will now have to look and consider changing the encryption, certainly.”
An absolutely a disgraceful mode of conduct with our best Middle East friend and ally.