חשיפה: הבסיס המשותף ליחידה 8200 והסוכנות לביטחון לאומי של ארה”ב, על פסגת הר אורה
I reported some years ago that the NSA maintained a joint base with the IDF’s Unit 8200 to intercept telecommunications from throughout the Middle East. I also noted that the base, known as Ofrit, was located in East Jerusalem just across the Green Line (and hence in occupied territory). Though many journalists had reported on intelligence-sharing and extraordinarily close ties between the NSA and Unit 8200, no one had ever discovered that the two agencies actually maintained a joint base.
Now I can report, based on a knowledgeable Israeli source, that the joint base has moved from Ofrit to another site in Jerusalem called Ora. It is known as a “mountain” but is really a hill with excellent views of the surrounding countryside, which is what makes it a good location for a SIGINT facility. Israel’s government website shows a blurred space in the same spot where Google Earth shows the base and its buildings clearly. The only “improvement” in its location is that it is no longer in occupied Palestinian territory.
Though the reason for the move isn’t clear. There has been at least one arson attempt on the outskirts of the old base. The prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of advanced spy gear certainly could’ve motivated this move. The old Ofrit base now houses a unit of the IDF Home Command.
Before Ora became a moshav settled largely by Yemenite immigrants, it was a Palestinian village, al Jura, whose inhabitants were expelled in 1948. Wikipedia calls this “depopulation,” which is a euphemism for expulsion. Hamas’ co-founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassine, who was assassinated by Israel, was born in the village.
Someone should write a book on all the various bitter ironies regarding destroyed Palestinian villages and the uses to which they were put by Israel afterward; starting with Deir Yassin, which became the mental asylum, Kfar Shaul. It seems strangely fitting that the site of a brutal massacre should later house Israeli Jews facing deep mental trauma.
In ancient times human beings built their great monuments, cathedrals, and shrines atop sites with commanding views to signal their awe in the face of nature’s majesty. Today, they build spy bases.