UK – US intelligence secretly tapped into live video from Israeli drones and jet fighter, monitoring military operations in Gaza and Lebanon.
They are being watching for a potential strike against Iran, and keeping tabs on the drone technology Israel exports around the world. It is an embarrassing disclosure for Israel, who is proud of it its technical capabilities.
The National Security Agency,working with the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, under an operation codenamed “Anarchist,” systematically targeted Israeli drones from a mountaintop on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
GCHQ files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden include a series of “Anarchist snapshots”. The feeds from cockpit cameras reportedly hacked using freely available software under programme run from GCHQ.
The files also show location data mapping the flight paths of the aircraft.
A GCHQ report from 2008 is quoted as saying. “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. In times of crisis this access is critical and one of the only avenues to provide up to the minute information and support to US and allied operations in the area.”
In one memo reporting on interception of an Israeli drones, an official in Cyprus noted: “Our ability to collect and track and report this activity is important for the initial detection and tip-off for any potential pre-emptive or retaliatory strike against Iran.”
The Israeli authorities did not give any any official comments to the document, Yuval Steinitz, minister of energy and a former intelligence minister, expressed his disappointment. He said,
“We are not surprised. We know that the Americans spy on everyone including us, their friends, 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.”