Ex-Head of Israel’s Electronic Surveillance Tells Us: Nothing to Fear from NSA

by Yossi Melman (in Tel Aviv)
Chatting with a former chief of Unit 8200 — the SigInt (Signals Intelligence) unit in Israel’s military intelligence agency Aman — I heard: “The last thing Israel should be concerned about is bugging by the U.S.”

Brigadier General Hanan Gefen added: “I am not worried at all. We are partners and share almost everything.”

Emblem of the "Intelligence Corps" of Israel's Military

Emblem of the “Intelligence Corps” of Israel’s Military

Unit 8200, to help its international liaison relationships, has given itself an English name: “Israel Sigint National Unit” (ISNU). Gefen was its commander from 1993 to 1997 and later served as a military attache in Israel’s embassy in Beijing. He is now in private business.

“Israel should be much more concerned about the improving sigint and cyberwarfare capabilities of Iran and Hezbollah,” Gefen told me. “The world should not forget that NSA surveillance [by America] is aiming at fighting global terrorism, and many countries in the world benefit from what they collect and find out.”

As for America’s problems with European nations, publicly expressing anger that the NSA eavesdropped on their leaders and kept records of their citizens’ phone calls and e-mails, Gefen commented: “I believe that soon, when the dust settles, the U.S. relations with the European Union will be back on the track of close cooperation.”

November 6, 2013

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