The head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Nadav Argaman, has delivered a stark warning that a “foreign country” is planning to meddle in Israel’s upcoming election in April via cyber warfare and hacking.
“A foreign country intends to intervene in the Israeli elections and it will intervene,” explained Argaman.
The security chief did not reveal further information, both withholding the name of the supposed country likely responsible for the cyber-hacking efforts, and the identify of the infiltrators and their possible agenda.
“At this stage, I cannot say for whom it will intervene or against whom. At this point, I do not know how to identify interests, but there will be interference by cyber hackers,” he explained, according to a report on Israel’s Hadashot TV news.
Despite the warning, Argaman seemed confident that the Shin Bet would be able to resist the attempted hacks, insisting that the security organization has the “tools and capabilities to locate, monitor and thwart foreign intervention.”
There are no electronic ballots in Israeli elections, for the most part ballots are still cast in-person at polling stations and with paper ballots, meaning that the attempted meddling will occur in the run-up to the election. It will likely take the form of efforts to sway public opinion by spreading false information online, including the creation of fake Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Argaman’s statement prompted concern among Members of the Knesset. Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party was under no illusion as to whom the warning referenced and wanted assurances that Russian President Putin would not be able to steal the elections on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s behalf.
For its part, Russia released a statement earlier Wednesday which categorically denied any intent to manipulate another country’s election results. “[Russia]…does not interfere, does not intend to interfere with elections in any country.”
#BREAKING: #Russia says ‘does not interfere, does not intend to interfere with elections in any country’ after intelligence warning of ‘foreign influence’ in #Israel‘s election pic.twitter.com/ujKYZa0jIv
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) January 9, 2019