The German newspaper Der Spiegel over the weekend revealed that not only did the U.S. monitor the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it also allegedly utilized the American embassy in Berlin as a listening station by means of a windowless structure filled with hi-tech gadgetry on the roof to monitor cellphone and other sensitive communications.
An Israeli intelligence analyst has now discovered similar mysterious white structures positioned on the rooftops of many key American embassies including in Beijing, Moscow, and Tel Aviv and published the photos to support his claims. While the structures appear to have a solid exterior, they are actually permeable by communication signals, according to the German report.
Der Spiegel described attic-like rooms positioned on the roof of the embassy in Berlin from which the CIA and NSA are able to monitor “a large part of cellphone communication” in the epicenter of the German government, calling the operation “a nest of espionage.”
The paper, which cites both German and U.S. sources, reports that the structures are designed to appear as integral parts of the buildings, but in reality they hide technology used for sophisticated electronic surveillance. It reports that the structures are covered by a material “permeable even by weak radio signals.”
Intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon tells the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv that the “boxes” conceal “very advanced wiretapping devices.”
Solomon examined photographs of the white structures on the roofs of the U.S. embassies in Tel Aviv, Madrid, Moscow, Beijing, Berlin and Stockholm.
“In all of the cases, it seems as though the ‘cubes,’ while appearing as part of the structure, are actually construction supplements. If the findings of Der Spiegel are correct, then the US intelligence agency's listening devices are dispersed around the world,” Ma’ariv reported.
Here is a montage of the photos published on the Hebrew website Ma’ariv:
Israeli officials say that they are not surprised by the reports and that the assumption in Israel has always been that “the US listens in on all of the conversations taking place in the Middle East, as well as in Europe, especially if they are unencrypted,” the paper reports.
For this reason, Israeli defense officials are prohibited from discussing “top secret” information over any phone line, even encrypted ones. Classified information can be conveyed only via envelopes with a wax seal, Maariv reports.
Spiegel cited a "top secret" NSA document from 2010 which revealed a unit called the "Special Collection Service" (SCS) which operates in 80 locations overseas including in Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome. The paper described the unit as “an elite corps run in concert by the US intelligence agencies NSA and CIA.”
[sharequote align="right"]While the structures appear to have a solid exterior, they are permeable by communication signals.[/sharequote]
Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom told Ma’ariv on Friday that he is “certain” the U.S. “has been listening in on its allies, including Israel.”
The Times of Israel reports Yatom believes the U.S. is most likely spying on Israel to learn more about the government’s position on negotiations with the Palestinians and about Iran’s nuclear program.
“It is important for them to know what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really thinks…They have interests here because they want to be able to contend with Israeli claims that arise when talking about these issues,” the Times of Israel quoted Yatom as saying.
While TheBlaze has not verified the photos shown by Ma'ariv, other online photos of various U.S. embassies do appear to show boxlike structures on the roofs.
Ma’ariv’s full report was translated to English on the website of Israel Defense magazine and can be found here.