The head of the US' National Security Agency (NSA) visited Israel last week, in secret, to meet with the Israel Defence Forces' (IDF) Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, Israel's signals intelligence (SIGINT) agency. In the meeting, NSA head Admiral Michael Rogers, met with Israeli security officials to plan even closer ties between the two agencies.
A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the closer ties between the NSA and Unit 8200 will strengthen the countries from cyber attacks carried out by Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
The meeting came soon after the US Department of Justice charged seven Iranian hackers over several cyber attacks that took place between 2011 and 2013 which involved banks and a small dam near New York City. Loretta Lynch, the US attorney general, said the hacks were carried out "with the sole purpose of undermining the targeted companies and damaging the online operation of America's free market".
The NSA and Unit 8200 have had a close relationship for many years. Their closeness has been shown recently with the Stuxnet virus, which experts claim was made in collaboration between the two agencies. In 2010, Stuxnet was used to cripple Iran's main nuclear reactor, after alleging the Islamic Republic wanted to build a nuclear bomb.