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8200 Secrets

Aharon Granot

They monitor messages, break codes, wiretap, translate, and process information into data that saves lives and prevents casualties. There are several thousand of them, sitting with headphones and computer screens in military installations around Israel. They’re the brains behind Unit 8200, the country’s first line of defense — but to people on the outside, they’re just jobniks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

There are several thousand of them, sitting in dozens of hidden military outposts somewhere in Israel, with headphones and powerful computers, collecting all kinds of information that help the long arm of the security forces to thwart terror attacks, find the vulnerabilities of the enemy, and track suspicious movements on an international scale. They monitor messages, break codes, and translate, process, and analyze incoming material. They’re considered the best minds in the military; IDF recruiters had been eyeing their proficiency and talent since high school. These soldiers don’t fight in combat units and never face the barrel of a gun, but they serve as Israel’s real front line of defense. Israel’s powerful position in the Middle East is often associated with its armed forces, its assumed nuclear weapons arsenal and its covert worldwide Mossad operations. But at the heart of it all is Unit 8200, Israel’s intelligence corps, arguably the best military intelligence gathering apparatus in the world. The innocuous name comes from the number on its military post-office box, yet in secret installations from the Urim base in the Negev desert to a mountain cavern on the Hermon close to the Syrian border, soldiers monitor governments, international organizations, foreign companies, political organizations and individuals. They intercept phone calls, e-mails, maritime communications, and satellite transmissions from local terror hotbeds and all over the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia — the Urim base in the Negev is said to run the largest wiretap network in the world. 

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