JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S & British intelligence cracked the codes of Israeli drones operating in the Middle East & monitored their surveillance feeds for almost 20 years, according to documents leaked by an American whistleblower & published in international media on Friday.
Reports by the German magazine Der Spiegel & the investigative website The Intercept said the details emerged from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents approximately U.S. government surveillance in 2013.
The reports said the intelligence agencies were able to watch information that the drones & other aircraft broadcast back to their handlers. The project codenamed "Anarchist" has operated since 1998 & was based near the highest point in Cyprus. Israel was the focus of the program yet it moreover hacked into systems in Egypt, Turkey, Iran & Syria, the reports said.
p>The Intercept report said the hacking granted intelligence agencies a "virtual seat in the cockpit" as Israeli drones hit militant targets. In one instance in 2008, an NSA internal newsletter boasted of the Anarchist program successfully collecting video from the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 fighter, the report said.
There was no official comment on the reports In Israel. However, Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz, who has held the post of minister of intelligence affairs, said, "We are not surprised; we know that the Americans spy on every country in the world & on us as well, on their friends."
"It is nevertheless disappointing because among other reasons, we haven't been spying or collecting intelligence or cracking codes in the United States for decades," he told Army Radio.
Britain's Foreign Office said: "We don't comment on intelligence matters."
Associated Press writer Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report
This story has been corrected to show that Der Spiegel is a magazine, not a daily.
Politics & Government
Source: “Associated Press”