Israel mobilizes its intelligence machinery to combat COVID-19

Israel COVID-19The intelligence agencies of Israel are playing an increasingly important role in the Jewish state’s effort to combat the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic in its territory. Israel’s intelligence agencies are known to be very secretive, but the government has gone out of its way to advertise their participation in the national effort to limit the spread of the virus.

Earlier this week, an Israeli television station aired an interview with an individual whose face was hidden, and was only identified as the director of technology for the Israeli external intelligence agency Mossad. He said that the secretive spy agency had managed to secure 100,000 coronavirus testing kits, 25,000 N-95 masks and 100 ventilators. The material had been acquired “from unnamed countries” by Mossad officers, he said. The officers had to “race to [foreign] factories” and secure these critical supplies after they had been “ordered by other countries”, he added. The agents then had to coordinate secret airlifts so that the medical material could be transported to Israel in time.

It has also been disclosed by the Office of the Prime Minister that the Israel Institute for Biological Research, which works closely with the Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies, has been making “significant progress” in developing a vaccine against COVID-19. One of the institute’s mission is to develop and produce defenses against biological and chemical threats. However, it has been alleged that it also produces chemical and biological weapons, as well as poisons and antidotes for use by the Mossad.

Meanwhile, several units of the Israel Defense Forces are helping to retrofit CPAP and BiPAP machines, which are designed to help treat sleep apnea, so that they can be used as ventilators. They include Unit 81, which is the technology unit of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN). Additionally, state-owned defense contractors, such as Israel Aerospace Industries, are re-purposing production lines for weapons systems so that they can be used to manufacture ventilators.

As of Friday morning, nearly 7,000 Israelis had tested positive for COVID-19. It was reported that 36 Israelis had died and 338 were believed to have recovered from the disease.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 03 April 2020 | Permalink

Analysis: NASA Spy’s Israel Ties Deeper Than Initially Thought

Stewart David Nozette

S.D. Nozette

By I. ALLEN and J. FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
New court documents show that Stewart David Nozette, an American scientist arrested for attempted espionage during an FBI sting last October, had deeper ties to Israel than initially believed. Nozette, a former employee of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was arrested for attempting to share classified US government data with an undercover FBI officer posing as a handler of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. At the time of Nozette’s arrest, the US Justice Department argued for keeping him in jail, as he “might flee to Israel if not confined”. Interestingly, however, US officials said at the time that Israel had no role in Nozette’s attempted espionage, and the FBI’s own indictment admitted that the Bureau “does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under US laws in this case”. But is this so? We examine the increasing complexities in the Stewart Nozette espionage case, as well as its significance for US-Israeli relations. Read article →

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Controversial Israel-Russia drone deal includes secret Iran clause

MK II UAV

MK II UAV

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
I have written before on this blog about a controversial $53 million agreement between Russia and Israel to provide Moscow with Israeli-made intelligence-gathering drones. The agreement, revealed last April, marked Israel’s first-ever sale of military systems to Russia, as well as Moscow’s first known purchase of a foreign weapons system. Last time I wroteintelNews received information that the Israeli move angered some US Pentagon officials. It turns out, however, that the Israeli-Russian deal contains a vital clause: the Israelis have agreed to provide Russia with as many intelligence-gathering drones as they want, and even allow them to reverse-engineer them, providing they cancel an agreement with Tehran to provide the Iranian government with Russian-made state-of-the-art air defense missiles. Read more of this post

Jailed US scientist actually gave secret information to Israel

Stewart David Nozette

S.D. Nozette

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
On October 22, shortly after the arrest of US nuclear scientist Stuart David Nozette by an FBI counterintelligence agent, I speculated that Nozette “was already working for Israeli intelligence” when he was arrested by the FBI. My assumption appears to have been correct. On Thursday, the case prosecutor informed a US district court that Nozette told the undercover FBI agent, who was posing as an Israeli spy, that “he had passed information to Israel in the past”. As I have explained elsewhere, Nozette was employed for ten years as a technical consultant by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), an Israeli government-owned company that some believe is routinely involved in espionage operations on behalf of Israel. Read more of this post

Analysis: US Scientist’s Espionage Arrest Raises Questions

Nozette

Nozette

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Stewart David Nozette, who was arrested by the FBI on October 19, on charges of sharing classified US government data with a man he believed was an Israeli government officer, is to remain in jail. The reason given by the US federal judge in charge of the case is that Nozette might flee to Israel if not confined. However, unlike the case of former US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard, who was jailed in 1987 for spying on the US for Israel, the government of Israel is said to have had no role in Nozette’s attempted espionage. The FBI itself admits that it “does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under US laws in this case”. This is because Nozette shared classified US government data with an undercover FBI officer posing as a handler of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. But if this is so, then two important counterintelligence questions are raised: first, how did the FBI know to lure Nozette with an agent posing as an Israeli –as opposed to a Russian or Chinese– handler? Second, why would Nozette flee to –and presumably be protected by– Israel, even though the government of Israel was not involved in this case, according to the FBI? Keep reading →

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How many spy drones did Russia purchase from Israel?

MK II UAV

MK II UAV

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Back in April, intelNews reported on a $53 million agreement between Russia and Israel to provide Moscow with three Israeli-made intelligence-gathering drones. Much was made at the time of the purchase of those unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which was interpreted as an indirect admission by Moscow that its armed forces severely lacked aerial intelligence. The purchase of the three Israel-made drones was reportedly designed to cover immediate needs, while the Russians were working on a plan to start building their own UAVs. It turns out, however, that neither the Israelis nor the Russians were quite upfront in their public announcement of the deal. Last April the two sides said that Russia would receive “three unmanned aircraft” from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In reality, $53 million is much too high a fee to purchase just three UAVs. This puzzled Washington, which does not want to see Russia improve its aerial reconnaissance capabilities. The US Pentagon thus sought –and subsequently received– assurances from Israel that it was not planning to sell Moscow its state-of-the art, super-expensive Heron UAV model. But the Americans were correct to be suspicious of the high cost of the deal. Russian media now reports that the Russians will be receiving, not three, but twelve UAVs for their $53 million. Read more of this post

Georgia war prompted Russian purchase of Israeli drones

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Much was made last week of an agreement between the Russian government and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to purchase three Israeli-made intelligence-gathering drones. The Israeli company will receive $50 million to supply the Russian military with three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), namely a Bird-Eye 400 mini, an I-view MK 150 tactical, and a Searcher MK II medium-range UAV. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the deal last Friday, saying it needed the new generation UAVs “to provide battlefield reconnaissance to the country’s armed forces”. What the Ministry didn’t say, however, is that it was prompted to purchase the Israeli-made drones after it saw its operations severely hampered by lack of aerial intelligence during the 2008 South Ossetia war last August. Read more of this post