Report: Israel informed NSA of Russian hackers in 2015

Reports surface claiming Israel found Russian hacking of NSA and government, reportedly informed NSA in 2015; Israel refused to comment on reports.

 

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Media reports released Tuesday claimed that Israel informed the United States of Russian hacking through antivirus software in 2015 that was used to steal information from the National Security Agency (NSA).

The story first broke in a New York Times piece entitled “How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets”, the article claiming that Israeli hackers were responsible for finding the hacking software in 2015. The software, Kaspersky, was reportedly used to hack government employee computers as well as computers of the NSA.

Just last month, the United States government began removing all Kaspersky software from government computers following reports and intelligence of hacking from Russia, the US Department of Homeland Security banning the used of Kaspersky computer software.

Israel has refused to comment on the reports.

Kaspersky denied the reports, stating in response “Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts… Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia, and the only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight.”

A reported 400 million people were affected by the hacking.

According to the New York Times, “The report did not name Israel as the intruder but noted that the breach bore striking similarities to a previous attack… Several targets were in the United States, which suggested that the operation was Israel’s alone, not a joint American-Israeli operation like Stuxnet.”

Stuxnet was an US-Israeli operation that successfully infiltrated Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility in 2010. The operation destroyed “a fifth of Iran’s uranium centrifuges” through the use of code.

 

 

 

Photo, CC, Oct. 11, 2017. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry: United States pretending to fight Islamic State.

Russia accuses US of deliberately allowing ISIS militants to flow into Syria; Accusations follow warning of “negative consequences” if Trump decertifies nuclear deal, Oct. 10, 2017.

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Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of deliberately reducing its efforts against ISIS in Iraq to allow militants to enter Syria.

A spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, made the accusations suggesting that the United States deliberately reduced airstrikes in Iraq in September to allow ISIS militants to flow into Syria.

Konashenkov also accused the United States of “pretending to fight” ISIS in the region, claiming its actions “complicate” the Syrian Army’s efforts “backed by the Russian air force” in efforts to “tack back Syrian territory to the east of the Euphrates”.

The spokesman stated Tuesday morning, “Everyone sees that the U.S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all in Iraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason,” adding “The actions of the Pentagon and the coalition demand an explanation. Is their change of tack a desire to complicate as much as they can the Syrian army’s operation, backed by the Russian air force, to take back Syrian territory to the east of the Euphrates? Or is it an artful move to drive Islamic State terrorists out of Iraq by forcing them into Syria and into the path of the Russian air force’s pinpoint bombing?”

Last week Konashenkov claimed the United States is the “main obstacle” to defeating ISIS after he accused US forces of allowing Islamic State attacks on Syrian Army targets close to a US military mission in Jordan on the border with Syria.

He stated that the if the United States “views such operations as unforeseen ‘coincidences,’ then the Russian air force in Syria is prepared to begin the complete destruction of all such ‘coincidences’ in the zones under their control… The main obstacle to completing the defeat of Islamic State in Syria is not the military capability of the terrorists but the support for them, and dalliance with them, from the United States.”

Tuesday remarks come following Russia’s warning of “negative consequences” if President Trump were to decertify the nuclear deal this week. On Monday, spokesman for President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, stated “Obviously if one country leaves the deal, especially such a key country as the US, then that will have negative consequences… We can only try to predict the nature of these consequences, which we are doing now.”

On Sunday, Iran’s Chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Mohammed Ali Jafari, warned that “Americans should know that the Trump government’s stupid behavior with the nuclear deal will be used by the Islamic Republic [Iran] as an opportunity to move ahead with its missile, regional and conventional defense program.”

 

 

Photo: Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russia Defense Ministry, CC, 2017.

IDF retaliates after rocket fired at Israel from Gaza Strip Sunday night

Rocket fired at Israel, lands in Strip; IDF tanks respond to fire, destroy Hamas watchtower; Two Palestinians, unarmed, attempt to infiltrate Israel, Oct. 9, 2017.

IDF stations tanks on border with Gaza following constant rocket attacks on Israel (AFP)

The IDF retaliated to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip Sunday night.

The rocket did not make it to Israel, but landed in the Gaza Strip. Code red sirens were issued and Israeli residents took to shelter.

An IDF tank then destroyed a Hamas watchtower in southern Gaza with no injuries reported in retaliation for the rocket fire.

It is not uncommon for Hamas or Islamic Jihad to fire rockets that do not land in Israel. Regardless of the source of the fire, Hamas, the ruling terrorist organization of the Gaza Strip, is always held accountable.

Just a few hours later, two Palestinians were caught attempting to sneak into Israel. They were caught by IDF forces and when searched had no weapons. They are being investigated.

Iran threatens to treat US Army like Islamic State if sanctions placed

Chief of Revolutionary Guard threatens to treat US Army as ISIS in region if more sanctions placed, warns that such a decision would provide “opportunity to move ahead with its missile, regional and conventional defense program”; Netanyahu: Israel stands alongside Trump and calls for the cancellation of the nuclear agreement with Iran coupled with renewed, heavy sanctions on Iran,  Oct. 8, 2017.

 

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General Mohammed Ali Jafari, the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, threatened to recognize the U.S. military as terrorist group and build up its missile program if the USA places more sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday, Jafari responded to reports that the United States will label both Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organizations, in steps the USA will likely take to place sanctions of groups cooperating with either terrorist group.

He responded in warning that “If reports on the US decision to enlist Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist group happen to be true, the Iranian force would also treat the American Army everywhere in the world, especially in the Middle East, in the same way as Daesh [ISIS] terrorists.”

Jafari threatened United States military bases in the Middle East region, stating that if the Revolutionary Guard were labeled as terrorist, it would respond with rocket fire, stating “As we’ve announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles.”

He also warned that “Americans should know that the Trump government’s stupid behavior with the nuclear deal will be used by the Islamic Republic [Iran] as an opportunity to move ahead with its missile, regional and conventional defense program.”

President Trump is expected to withdraw his endorsement of the nuclear deal this week. While the president has not directly confirmed he intends to do so, he recently stated during a meeting in the White House with US military officials “The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions… You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office released an official response to President Trump’s stance and comments on the Iran nuclear deal, stating, “Israel stands alongside Trump and calls for the cancellation of the nuclear agreement with Iran coupled with renewed, heavy sanctions on Iran. If the agreement is not scrapped, Israel is demanding three key changes: canceling the clause that allows Iran to resume enriching uranium when the agreement expires; imposing a prohibition on long-range ballistic missiles; and imposing sanctions on Iran until it decommissions its nuclear facilities.”

 

 

Photo: General Mohammed Ali Jafari, CC, Oct. 8, 2017.

Iran: Defense missile program is non-negotiable

Iran quickly denies reports that it is open to talks on ballistic missile program with world powers; President Trump expected to decertify deal next week; Iran: defensive missile program is non-negotiable and that it is not inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Oct. 6, 2017.

 

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Reports surfaced that Iran would be open to discussing its ballistic missile program with world powers, the Islamic Republic quickly denying the reports and insisting its missile program is for defense purposes only.

Reports surfaced on information from a meeting between Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif with representatives from world powers during the UN General Assembly in September. A source reported over the weekend that “During their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month, Iran told members of the world powers that it could discuss the missile program to remove concerns.”

A spokesman for the Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied the reports over the weekend, stating “Iran has in all bilateral diplomatic meetings … emphasized that its defensive missile program is non-negotiable and that it is not inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.” He added that Iran’s ballistic missile program is for defense purposes only and not for nuclear weapons.

President Trump is expected to withdraw his endorsement of the nuclear deal next week, the president scheduled for numerous meetings with security and political officials in Washington. While the president has not directly confirmed his intentions, he recently stated during a meeting in the White House with US military officials “The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions… You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

If the president were to decertify the deal, Congress would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions removed from the 2015 deal.

The president addressed the UN General Assembly on Iran last month, speaking of Iranian government’s export of violence, conflict and chaos in the region, at the price of its people, stating “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.”

He stated on the nuclear deal, “The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it.”

Just last week, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen stated during a ceremony for the Mossad that Iran is “Israel’s greatest threat” and that “the objectives of the Mossad are clear: Iran continues to hold onto its vision of attaining significant nuclear capabilities, so that it will attain nuclear military capabilities.”

Cohen previously provided an intelligence report of Iran’s violations of the nuclear deal and military buildup in the region to US security and government officials. Prime Minister Netanyahu has already held meetings with numerous heads of state where he has addressed Iran, including a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

 

Photo: CC, Oct. 6, 2017.

Mossad chief: Iran strives to attain nuclear military capabilities

PM and Mossad Chief address Mossad ceremony; Mossad Chief addresses, Iran, ISIS, Hamas; Cohen: The objectives of the Mossad are clear: Iran continues to hold onto its vision of attaining significant nuclear capabilities, so that it will attain nuclear military capabilities, Oct. 4, 2017.

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The Mossad held an award ceremony this week, giving citations to Mossad agents who completed important covert operations.

In the first ceremony of its kind, Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated the recipients, saluting them for “initiative, the daring, the professionalism, the planning and the execution” of Israel’s covert missions, stating the Mossad “works like a synchronized fist. All its parts are recognized and what is no less important, really, is the coordination with other bodies. I salute you, and I salute your families, who are an important part of your action.”

Mossad Director Yossi Cohen then addressed the ceremony, focusing on the ongoing threats posed to the Jewish State, including Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIS who “continue to challenge us on a daily basis with attempts to harm us, and no less important, our friends in the world.”

Cohen emphasized Iran as “Israel’s greatest threat” and the Mossad’s main priority as the Islamic Republic continues its military and nuclear efforts. He stated “The objectives of the Mossad are clear: Iran continues to hold onto its vision of attaining significant nuclear capabilities, so that it will attain nuclear military capabilities.”

On the Mossad’s activities, he stated “In the field as well as at our headquarters, we do an immense amount of work to ensure that we will win wars and future battles with our enemies,” referencing the “hundreds and thousands of operations every year… some of them complex and daring, in the heart of enemy countries.”

On the future of the spy agency and its capabilities he stated, “The Mossad is getting stronger, internally, acquiring new capabilities in order to welcome the future with advanced technology, intelligence systems, greater strength and improved human resources. All this is to be prepared for the challenges that stand before us in our mission to carry out covert Mossad operations for many more years.”