Israel’s notorious cyberwar Unit 8200, a SIGINT branch of the IDF comparable to our NSA, maintains networks of alumni in Israel and the Diaspora, including in New York. Not only do the Unit veterans produce some of the most ambitious cyber-startups in Israel (some of which, like Payoneer, are exploited in Israel’s cyber-war activities), it also apparently serves as a recruitment venue for the Mossad and Shin Bet.
The New York branch holds regular networking sessions that boast corporate and government sponsors as featured in this screenshot (Qualcomm, Rafael, SanDisk, Verint and Intel). You’ll note among the sponsors are the “Prime Minister’s office.” This is a euphemism for the intelligence services (Shin Bet and Mossad), since these agencies, their budget and supervision fall under the PMO. In other words, not only entrepreneurs, but spies see such meetings as excellent recruitment venues.
A confidential source has told me that Uri Leventer-Roberts, the Israel director of the UJA Federation of New York, who’s responsible for spending $30-million in Israel from New York donors, is a veteran of Unit 8200 (you won’t find that in his bio!). Leventer-Roberts headed a Unit 8200 networking alumni group in New York for several years when he lived there. He held annual networking sessions there and in Israel. One event invitation read:
April 24 2013, Hangar 11, Port of Tel Aviv
The Unit 8200 Veterans Association invites you to the fifth annual event to meet old friends, to renew ties, and to seek business opportunities at this holiday veterans reunion.
He continues such efforts from his new perch where he holds the interests of Israel’s cyber-intelligence dear to his heart. Only in Israel, would it be considered de rigeur, even an honor, to have a philanthropic initiative directed by a military veteran trained to wreak havoc on the cyber-infrastructures of foreign nations.
Before he entered communal service, but after he left military service, Leventer-Roberts was an editor at both Haaretz and Channel 10 news. That too fits a profile of intelligence veterans who take care of the interests of their former bosses in their new media roles. He also earned an MA in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Do you include such service in your CV when you apply for grad school??
Leventer-Roberts writes here about his goals:
…In the long run…I hope to continue to be a cord that connects different groups whether within Israel or between Israel and abroad–serving and improving Israeli society.
There are all sorts of ways to “serve,” aren’t there? Both when you’re in the army and after you leave. If he were still serving in the IDF I know what those goals would involve for Israel’s enemies, but do they mean anything different now? It would nice to think it would. But we know the powerful network of Israeli cyber-warriors that roam the world using the tools they learned in the army in order to create new civilian and military markets. We know the Israeli cyber-technology used by U.S. telecoms which can serve as a backdoor for NSA intelligence operations. We know how intrusive these are here in the U.S. where we ostensibly have constitutional protections. In Israel, even Bibi Netanyahu has acknowledged that there are no such protections for citizens and no right to privacy, selling this as a plus for Israel’s cyber-security industry. We know that IDF special forces officers lead U.S. firms like Payoneer, which provided critical financial/logistical help to the al-Mabouh Mossad assassins and perhaps even assisted two of them who returned from the hit via the U.S.
Leventer-Roberts was a senior intelligence officer and then a project manager for Unit 8200’s planning office. He served in an IDF SIGNIT base called Ofrit, with which regular readers will be familiar. Ofrit is a base located in occupied East Jerusalem, near the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus. It monitors all communications traffic in the West Bank and points east. In addition to Ofrit being a Unit 8200 facility, it serves as home to a secret NSA facility which I’ve written about here after Ronen Bergman initially exposed it (without naming it). The NSA base serves as a repository for signals transmissions from U.S. satellites located in that sector. As I said about this in my earlier post, the NSA post is housed in an Israeli base on occupied Palestinian land, a matter that violates declared U.S. policy which refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty there.
Read this seemingly innocent little trifle Leventer-Roberts penned for 972 Magazine during the J14 social justice protests, Rothschild on the Hudson. In it, he expresses a nostalgic yearning to return with his family from New York to an Israel long-gone-by, in which social status wasn’t measured by material possessions, when a sense of community and family mattered, when people were honest and could survive on an honest day’s work. Lamenting the disappearance of this Israel is a bit disingenuous for someone like the former IDF intelligence officer, since Unit 8200, of which he is a proud veteran, plays a huge role in the Brave New World of the eternal surveillance state which Israel has become. H/t to reader Oui for finding this chestnut.
Before publishing this, I tried unsuccessfully to contact Leventer-Roberts via his Facebook account.
Brave new world.
As to two (three?) vast and on-rushing problems in America and the world, the people need revolution, not evolution. These problems are climate change, big-money control (and spying and corruption of computer systems and networks). We need to stop using fossil-fuels cold turkey, eject big-money from politics ASAP (because big-money is notably acting to prevent action on climate change (and regain the safety of our computer systems).
Instead (or as a goad?), we have the USA Supreme Court increasing the control of politics by big-money, big money (Kochs and others) fighting to prevent knowledge or action or education about climate change, ( and NSA, 8200 thoroughly corrupting cyberspace).
Brave New World. Are sensible people wishing for grand-children any more?
“…(T)he eternal surveillance state…” Yes, the future is here. I was thinking revolution as well. My first action would be to demonstrate that the US is not a democracy by enlisting the majority of Americans to withhold participation in electoral politics, demonstrating to the world that the two party system is a sham and does not express the majority thinking and goals. Second, capping corporate power by fiat. Third, placing the environment before profit by law. And fourth, thrashing the tax code and writing one that is actually progressive without “outs.” Fifth, mandating reductions in military spending each year for the next twenty years. We need revolution here in order to obviate Israel’s power there.
What’s the purpose ?
Is there a new path to justice ? guilt according to RS ? Was Uri Leventer-Roberts convicted at anything ? is he guilty ?
An Israeli-American living his life in NY (like many others) what gives you the right exposing his military service and possibly risking his life ? I smell AA here, and the stench is disgusting.
Richard Silverstein says
@ JustMe: “Exposing” his military service? In what other country in the world is one’s military service a national secret? By what right does he get to conceal what he did in the IDF? And if what he did exposes him to danger (which is a ludicrous claim on its face anyway), why is that? What did he do? How much damage did he cause? And to whom?
As for “stench,” I think the rest of us are smelling it wafting from your disingenous comment.
RS is right: What is there to hide? Is his military service a secret? Why? What are you saying? The truth “exposes” him and so the truth must go? I don’t think so. RS shows that this guy can run, but he can’t hide.
More articles by Joseph Cirincione on nuclear non-proliferation …
○ Non-Proliferation Paralysis: The Decline and Stall of US Policy 
○ The US’s nuclear cave-in vs. India – violates International Law 
No secrecy about his IDF experience here …
Harvard: Uri Leventer on Counter-Terrorism