Operating out of a mountaintop facility in Cyprus, British and American intelligence agencies have for years been watching what Israeli military drones are watching, according to documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
The information, published by the Intercept, reveals an intensive surveillance effort against Israel aimed, in particular, at detecting indications of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
The American-British operation was able to crack top secret Israeli codes that gave them access to the cockpits of Israeli fighter planes in combat operations over the Gaza Strip and to the videos being scooped up by Israeli drones over a large part of the Middle East, possibly over Iran as well.
Israeli officials did not choose to make an issue of the report in the Intercept, which is associated with Glenn Greenwald, who has made Snowden’s leaks available to international media.
“I do not think that this is the deepest kingdom of secrets,” said Yuval Steinetz, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, regarding the latest leak. “We will now have to look and consider changing the encryption, certainly.”
The documents, which include videos taken by drones, show that the British-U.S. operation, which has been going on since 1988, was also hacking other nations in the area, from North Africa to Iran, although special focus appeared to be placed on Israel.