The Intercept published Jan. 29 information about Operation Anarchist, an extensive spying initiative of the United States and the United Kingdom against Israel’s covert aerial activities. The article generated an enormous storm in Israel’s security circles and also in its highest political echelons. According to the report that was drawn from Edward Snowden’s documents, the national wiretapping services of both the United States and the United Kingdom — the National Security Agency and Government Communications Headquarters, respectively — set up secret spying facilities atop Cyprus’ Troodos Mountains. For 18 years, they have been tracking Israeli activities of fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UCAVs or combat drones) and Israel’s entire aerial deployment. According to the documents, the Americans succeeded in breaking the code encryption of Israel’s drone alignment including the Israeli Heron. The leaked documents claim that this is an unmanned aircraft capable of attacking deep in enemy territory. According to the published information, even the operating code of the Arrow project's Black Sparrow target missile was breached by the superpowers. The Black Sparrow is a missile launched by Israeli fighter planes from a very high altitude; it resembles the Iranian Shahab missile that the Arrow is supposed to intercept and damage at high altitude.
The official Israeli response to these publications was “expressions of disappointment.” Official Israeli speakers tried not to inflate the crisis. Israel’s working assumption is that the United States listens to every word uttered by the state’s leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convinced that he is under surveillance even in his office and his private home in Caesarea. He has asked the Shin Bet — more than once — to try to install wiretap disrupters in his private home. When Netanyahu is in the United States, he does not talk about classified matters while at Blair House, the official guesthouse. Instead, Netanyahu confines all his private talks to the embassy in Washington. When Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin used to travel to the United States, his entourage always picked a last-minute, random apartment in Washington as the place for transmitting important security updates. The premise was that the Americans would not have time to install wiretapping equipment in an apartment at such short notice.