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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Report: Lebanese Internet routed through Israel from 2006-2009

Now! Lebanon has an article about how Lebanon busted an alleged Israeli spy ring of some 150 people. The article starts with this fascinating story:

In 2006, a ship cut silently through the Mediterranean on a moonless night before docking at a small Lebanese port. On board were a microwave dish and a Fiber Airport produced by Ceragon, an Israeli company specializing in wireless telecom and the delivery of voice and data services. One month later, a technician traveling under a fake name installed the equipment on top of the Barouk Mountain, one of Lebanon’s highest peaks.

For three years, the dish emitted radio frequencies connecting Lebanese internet users to Israel. Most users of this particular network were oblivious as to who to thank for their excellent internet connection. Rumor has it that the Lebanese presidential palace and Ministry of Defense, as well as the personal houses of the head of the army and other top-ranking military officials, were connected unknowingly to Israel, with which Lebanon is still technically at war. According to telecom experts speaking to NOW Lebanon on condition of anonymity, the breach was due in part to the reliance of Lebanese national agencies on rudimentary firewall systems.

While talk of the Barouk scandal was quickly hushed due to the seeming unwitting involvement of top politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, it was, nonetheless, a major event in Lebanon’s intelligence war against Israel.

While this sounds very possible, I am a bit more skeptical about the arrests of the alleged spies. For example, the story is illustrated with this photo and caption:

A masked Lebanese secret service officer shows on May 11, 2009 a wireless internet router found with arrested Lebanese nationals accused of spying for Israel. (AFP photo/Joseph Barrak)

In my house I have that exact same kind of spy equipment!