Mar. 2, 2004
Report: Israel broke Iranian code
By YAAKOV KATZ
A secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons, the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday.
"On a trip to the Middle East last month, I was told that a number of years ago the Israeli signals-intelligence agency, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code and began monitoring communications that included talk between Iran and Pakistan about Iran's burgeoning nuclear-weapons program" Investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh wrote in the article.
According to the report, Israeli intelligence has created strong ties in Iran over the year, some of which exist till today. Hersh writes that the investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) into Iranian nuclear capability was spurred by Israeli intelligence findings which were relayed to the atomic agency via the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
According to the report, the findings, which showed that senior officials in Teheran and Islamabad had frequent conversations regarding the I.A.E.A. investigations, were also shared with United Sates intelligence services.
"The interpretation is the issue here," a former intelligence official is quoted as saying in the report. "If you set the buzzwords aside, the substance is that the Iranians were saying, 'We've got to play with the I.A.E.A. We don't want to blow our cover, but we have to show some movement. There's no way we're going against world public opinionâ€”no way. We've got to show that we're cooperating and get the Europeans on our side.'"
Hersh reports that he met with a senior Israeli intelligence officer in Tel Aviv who has access to the secret Iran-Pakistan contacts and was told that Israel remains convinced that "the Iranians do not intend to give up the bomb.
"What Iran did was report to the I.A.E.A. the information that was already out in the open and which they cannot protect. There is much that is not exposed," he said.