Former Mossad chief: US leaks of Israeli intel not fatal to relationship

Former Mossad chief: US leaks of Israeli intel not fatal to relationship
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Tamir Pardo, the former director of the Israeli intelligence and counterterrorism agency Mossad, said that recent intelligence leaks would not have substantially hampered his relationship with his counterparts in the United States.

“We don't have any other choice,” Pardo, who served as the Mossad’s head until January 2016, told The Hill in an interview.

Recent media reports about Kaspersky Lab’s role in Russian espionage operations were based on alleged Israeli intelligence, and were leaked to the media by people in the United States.

Apparently leaked copies of the NSA’s tightly-guarded hacking tools appear to have been used in international malware outbreaks WannaCry and NotPetya. 

In May, Israel reportedly changed its intelligence sharing protocols with the United States after President Trump was said to have told Russian diplomats highly classified information that could have endangered the life of an Israeli operative. 

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“What we had to clarify with our friends in the United States, we did,” defense chief Avigdor Liberman told Israeli Army Radio at the time, although he did not explain what protocols changed and whether or not they would restrict intelligence sharing from its then-current state.

“I think when I was in my position, I would say I am not happy about it, but it does not stop our need to share intelligence,” said Pardo, who said he was sure the NSA had done its best to protect its files. 

Currently the president and chairman of cybersecurity firms XM and Sepio Systems respectively, Pardo said intelligence sharing was particularly important given advances in cyberwarfare, which allow threats to be more cheaply deployed.

He compared the current state of cyberdefenses to the myth surrounding the Charge at Krojanty, during the German invasion of Poland in 1939. In apocryphal lore, the Polish cavalry were said to have attempted to stop German tanks with horses and sabers.  

Pardo suggested that nations were too lenient when it came to accepting digital attacks. 

“A cyber crime by a state is an act of warfare,” he said. 

Pardo added that dictatorships held an advantage in warfare involving “communications, data and networks” because of government control of information and consumer choice 

“Democratic countries are much more vulnerable to attack,” he said.