US National Security Agency head secretly visits Israel to forge closer ties

Admiral Michael Rogers’ visit touched on deepening cooperation between Israeli and American intelligence units, especially against cyber attacks by Iran and Hezbollah.

National Security Agency (NSA) director Admiral Michael Rogers reportedly made a secret trip to Israel last week for a working visit that dealt with forging closer ties and cooperation in the cyber security field with the IDF’s elite 8200 Intelligence Unit, especially in relation to warding off cyber attacks by Iran and Hezbollah.

According to Israel’s Haaretz, which quoted an unnamed “senior Israeli official,” Rogers came to Israel as a guest of the commander of Unit 8200, Israel’s electronic espionage unit, and also met with senior officials from other Israeli intelligence agencies. Rogers did not meet with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot or the director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi in the course of his stay, a possible testament to the secrecy of the visit.

Just a few days before Rogers’ arrival in Israel, the US indicted seven Iranian hackers with ties to the Iranian military for cyber attacks on US banks and a dam in New York State, attacks carried out at the behest of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Israel has attained global stature in cybersecurity and electronic warfare, as it faces thousands of attacks from multiple sources on its systems annually.

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The NSA and Unit 8200 have reportedly cooperated in the past, and specifically in attacks on Iran’s nuclear production systems.