An Israeli drone is seen over Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on November 2, 2011. Leaked documents attributed to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal the U.S. and Britain both spied on Israeli drones in the late 1990s. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Both the United States and Britain operated hacking missions to spy on secret drone flights carried out by the Israeli Air Force in 1998, leaked documents indicate.
According to a report from The Intercept, associated with documents obtained through former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, both countries worked to monitor drones and communications under a classified mission code-named "Anarchist."
Both the Britain-based intelligence service called the Governments Communications Headquarters and the NSA reportedly surveyed the drones from Cyprus to obtain military operations information in Egypt, lookout for potential airstrikes in Iran and monitor technology exports.
"We are not surprised, we know that the Americans are spying on the whole world, including their friends," the Jerusalem Post quotes Yuval Steinitz, Israel's National Infrastructrue, Energy and Water Minister, as saying. "That is disappointing, because for decades we have not spied, collected intelligence or attempted to crack the encryption of the United States."
"We will now have to look and consider changing the encryption, certainly," Steinitz added.
Israel says it has not spied on the United States since employing former U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard in the 1980s. Pollard was recently released from prison after serving 30 years for sharing classified information with the U.S. ally.
The Intercept also alleges Israel is equipped with armed drones, though the state neither confirms or denies the report.