Yossi Melman, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars, wrote an analysis of the latest spy scandal in Israel: the protest by reservists in Unit 8200 (specializing in electronic or signals intelligence) who say they can no longer stand eavesdropping on Palestinians — because, they claim, a lot of the information they glean from phone calls and other conversations is unfairly used against innocent Palestinians.
The entire analysis by Melman appears on the website of the weekly newspaper Forward, whicih is published in New York.
Here is an excerpt:
In their letter, the mutineers stated that they would not carry out their assigned duties because doing so involves, among other things, listening in on the phone calls of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including many who are uninvolved in violence, to gather information on their health, infidelities, sexual orientations, financial problems, sex habits and other private matters. As the mutineers noted, those nuggets of intelligence are then used to pressure and blackmail the targets, to force them to act as agents and collaborators for the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service.
The forty-three letter signers also complain that information gleaned from Sigint, or signals intelligence, that they provide sometimes results in the killing of innocent Palestinians during military strikes based on that information.
Their protest shocked Israeli society and generated condemnation from across the Jewish political spectrum, including the mainstream dovish opposition.
“I’m not saying that there are no mistakes. It is certainly possible that there were,” Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog wrote on his official Facebook page. “But there are ways to complain and to ensure that such claims are examined and discussed.” Herzog is himself a former major in Unit 8200.
But even angrier were thousands of reservists and veterans of the intelligence unit. …
[Yet] despite the current storm, after the dust settles down Unit 8200 will continue with its traditional duties as Israel’s intelligence shield and a hotbed of technology.