Top Israeli spy chief accidentally exposes his true identity in online security lapse

Top Israeli spy chief accidentally exposes his true identity in online security lapse

The Guardian reports:

The identity of the commander of Israel’s Unit 8200 is a closely guarded secret. He occupies one of the most sensitive roles in the military, leading one of the world’s most powerful surveillance agencies, comparable to the US National Security Agency.

Yet after spending more than two decades operating in the shadows, the Guardian can reveal how the controversial spy chief – whose name is Yossi Sariel – has left his identity exposed online.

The embarrassing security lapse is linked to a book he published on Amazon, which left a digital trail to a private Google account created in his name, along with his unique ID and links to the account’s maps and calendar profiles.

The Guardian has confirmed with multiple sources that Sariel is the secret author of The Human Machine Team, a book in which he offers a radical vision for how artificial intelligence can transform the relationship between military personnel and machines.

Published in 2021 using a pen name composed of his initials, Brigadier General YS, it provides a blueprint for the advanced AI-powered systems that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been pioneering during the six-month war in Gaza.

An electronic version of the book included an anonymous email address that can easily be traced to Sariel’s name and Google account. Contacted by the Guardian, an IDF spokesperson said the email address was not Sariel’s personal one, but “dedicated specifically for issues to do with the book itself”.

The security blunder is likely to place further pressure on Sariel, who is said to “live and breathe” intelligence but whose tenure running the IDF’s elite cyber intelligence division has become mired in controversy.

Unit 8200, once revered within Israel and beyond for intelligence capabilities that rivalled those of the UK’s GCHQ, is thought to have built a vast surveillance apparatus to closely monitor the Palestinian territories. [Continue reading…]

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