The letter revealed in Israel in early September 2014 is not like any other in view of its content, writers, signatories, impact and influence. Repercussions and reactions were equally extraordinary and exceptional. On the one hand, official political and military authorities sought to “silence” the letter. On the other, attempts were made to highlight how serious and far reaching the potential future projections of the letter would be.
Of course, it is not an exaggeration to examine and attempt to investigate the impact of this entirely unprecedented letter. It was released by a group, including dozens (43 in particular) of reserve soldiers and officers of Unit 8200. Considered as the crown jewel of the Israeli intelligence corps (Directorate of Military Intelligence Aman), Unit 8200 is the most important and prominent elite unit of the Israeli army. It is the largest of all Israeli army units and military formations, not only in terms of personnel, but also in view of the resources and capacities earmarked and placed at its disposal. The letter was the first of its kind since Unit 8200 was founded. According to Israel’s military history, Unit 8200 had been created even before the State of Israel was proclaimed.
Unit 8200 (literally, eight two hundred) is the unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. In the media and military publications, it is referred to as the Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps, including telephone conversations, SMS, faxes, and other means of communications. The name 8200 is the fourth designation the unit has had since it was established. It was so named in October 1973. Then, 8200 was the number of the unit’s military post office box number. At the time, Amos Levinberg and 13 other officers were captivated by the Syrian army in the October 1973 war. Later, it was said that Levinberg revealed classified and critical information on the Israeli army. The former three names of Unit 8200 included SM2 (Sherut Modiin 2 / 2nd Intelligence Service Unit), Unit 515 (literally, five and a quarter), and Unit 848 (literally, eight four eight).
According to information published in the media, Unit 8200 is in control of a number of military bases of the Israeli army. It holds direct military responsibility for these bases, which all work on intelligence collection. Of these, the most renowned is the military base on Site Hermon (Mount Hermon). The central base of Site Hermon is located in the Glilot area, Ramat HaSharon in central Israel.
Among other things, Unit 8200 is known for using state-of-the-art communications technology. This is why former Unit 8200 operatives occupy senior positions in the hi-tech industry in Israel as well as in other countries around the world.