Location of massive Israeli eavesdropping site uncovered
September 9, 2010 5 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
An author and investigative journalist from New Zealand has uncovered one of the world’s biggest government-sponsored eavesdropping sites in a desert in Israel. Writing in French monthly review Le Monde Diplomatique, Nicky Hager reveals that the site acts as a base for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps, also known as Unit 8200, which is responsible for collecting and decrypting signals intelligence. In his article, written in French, Hager describes the base as one of the world’s largest, and says it is located near the Urim kibbutz, about 30 kilometers west of Beersheba, in Israel’s Negev desert region. He further reveals that, according to satellite images, the base features 30 antennas and satellite dishes, some of which are impressive in size, and suggest that personnel on the base are engaged in intercepting aerial transmissions. But the award-winning investigative journalist also claims that the base is central to Unit 8200’s field collection teams, which engage in regional maritime intelligence and the tapping of underwater communications cables in the Mediterranean. Intelligence observers will recall Hager’s seminal book Secret Power (1996), in which he revealed the existence of the UK-USA Security Agreement. Also known as AUSCANZUKUS, the Agreement concerns a peculiar intelligence-sharing arrangement between the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which has existed since World War II. Secret Power focused on New Zealand’s role in the Agreement and documented the US-managed ECHELON, a signals intelligence collection and analysis network that serves as an intelligence-sharing platform between the UK-USA signatories.