Information leaked by Edward Snowden indicates the United States and the United Kingdom hacked the live feeds of Israeli drones and jets during intelligence-gathering operations dating from the late 1990s, the BBC reported. The project was codenamed Anarchist — based at the highest point in Cyprus — and while Israel was its focus, it also reported hacks into Egyptian, Turkish, Syrian and Iranian systems. The report said the National Security Agency was able to get video from the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet.
"We know that the Americans spy on every country in the world and on us as well, on their friends," Yuval Steinitz, an Israeli cabinet minister and former minister of intelligence affairs, told the BBC.
Project Anarchist allowed the U.S. and the U.K. intelligence agencies to watch for any possible Israeli strikes on Iran and continuing military operations in Gaza, the Intercept reported. Images from around 2010 appear to offer visual evidence that attack drones with missiles are flown by the Israeli government, something it has not acknowledged.
“There’s a good chance that we are looking at the first images of an armed Israeli drone in the public domain,” Chris Woods, author of the book “Sudden Justice,” which chronicles the history of drone warfare, told the Intercept. “They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress information on weaponized drones.”
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 29, 2016
An anonymous Israeli source told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz the revelations in the report weren’t very dramatic, downplaying their significance. While U.S. President Barack Obama said years ago he would stop spying on heads of state friendly to the U.S., some heads of state still have been under close surveillance, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.