I am the first English language publication to report his major story. Der Spiegel publishes in today’s edition that Israeli intelligence (likely Unit 8200) eavesdropped on phone calls John Kerry made to his Palestinian interlocutors during the peace talks he conducted for the past year. Though Kerry usually talked on encrypted phone lines from his State Department office or Georgetown home, when he was in flight to or from the region he had to use a satellite phone, which was not encrypted. This allowed the Israelis to listen in on everything he said to the Palestinians. It allowed them to know what ideas he was floating and prepared for them to counter them in the negotiation process. When the Israelis really disliked a proposal they knew better how to attack it before Kerry had even brought the subject up.
The Spiegel reporter, who was the same one who first revealed that the NSA was eavesdropping on Andrea Merkel’s cell phone conversations as well.
A second country was also listening in on Kerry’s calls, though the report doesn’t say which one. Either Israel was enabling that country to eavesdrop. Or the two countries were doing it independently of each other. My money is on a shared mission. Which countries might Israel have wanted to know of these secret calls? My money is on the new Israel toady, Egypt. Or possibly Saudi Arabia, which which Israel has a very close intelligence relationship related to the Iranian “threat.”
Ronen Bergman published a summary of the article in Yediot yesterday. It has just been published in German by Der Spiegel.