Israel's intelligence chief warns of foreign election interference

The head of Israel's security agency has warned that a foreign country will try to interfere in Israel's upc...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 4:03 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 4:03 PM

The head of Israel's security agency has warned that a foreign country will try to interfere in Israel's upcoming elections in April.

"A foreign country intends to interfere in the coming elections in Israel, and it will interfere. I don't know at this stage whom it will help or hurt," said Israel Security Agency (ISA) chief Nadav Argaman on Monday night, according to the Israel Television News company. "I know what I'm talking about," Argaman added.

Continents and regions

Eastern Europe

Elections and campaigns

Europe

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Intelligence services

International relations and national security

Israel

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

National security

Politics

Russia

Argaman, who was speaking at a closed conference of the Friends of Tel Aviv University organization in Tel Aviv, said the interference would be done through cyber-attacks and hacking.

A spokeswoman for the organization refused to speak about Argaman's remarks.

The comments were initially restricted by Israel's military censor, but the restriction was later partly lifted.

On Tuesday evening, following the publication of Argaman's comments, the ISA, also known as the Shin Bet, issued a statement that said: "The State of Israel and the intelligence apparatus has the tools and the ability to uncover, deflect, and to prevent the attempts of foreign influence. It is within the abilities of the Israeli security services to allow the existence of free and democratic elections in Israel."

Although Argaman did not mention a specific country, it didn't stop opposition politicians from promptly blaming Russia.

"We demand that the security forces ensure that Putin doesn't steal the elections for his friend, the tyrant Bibi," Tamar Zandberg, head of the left-wing Meretz party, said Tuesday, using Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nickname.

Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, whose work focuses on democratic values and institutions, also saw Russia as the likely country the Shin Bet chief was talking about, but said she did not believe the Russians were particularly interested in supporting one political side in Israel over any other.

"I think what the Russians are trying to do -- and we've seen it both in America and in Europe -- is to destabilize the political system and reduce public trust in liberal democracy as a system," Altshuler said in a conference call with reporters.

"Russia is probably trying to influence elections in Israel, just as it tried to do that in America, during the Brexit election period at the UK, the election period in France and perhaps last week in Germany," Altshuler added.

Russia has denied having any intent to interfere in Israel's elections, claiming it has never done so. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. "It is out of the question. Russia has never interfered in elections in any country and has no plans to do it in the future."

Asked about the reports of Argaman's comments in Israeli newspapers, Peskov responded, "Don't read these Israeli news outlets."

Anat Berko, who chairs the Knesset's cyber defense subcommittee, said Israel is prepared for any scenario of election interference, adding that the entire voting process in Israel is supervised.

"It is important to note that in Israel voting takes place with a ballot paper and not through the internet. The process is supervised. Israel is a cyber power and is well protected in the cyber field. This protection extends to the above matter as well as to infrastructure," Berko told CNN.

Terre Haute
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 92°
Rockville
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 87°
Casey
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Brazil
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Marshall
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
Hot and humid with scattered pop-up storms this evening
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Sunday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Illinois Lottery closing claims centers temporarily

Image

Travel safely this holiday

Image

Rubber Duck Regatta winner to donate portion of prize

Image

Remembering Eva Kor a year after her death

Image

The Mile supports kids running program

Image

Conservation club dedicates new flag

Image

Demonstrators demand immigration reform

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Blue Lives Matter Rally takes place in front of THPD

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 146612

Reported Deaths: 7014
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook922404622
Lake9919423
DuPage9267475
Kane7819275
Will6883320
Winnebago308496
McHenry210397
St. Clair1988137
Kankakee130465
Rock Island101829
Madison100769
Kendall98921
Champaign93912
Boone60821
DeKalb57219
Peoria55128
Sangamon44632
Jackson33619
Randolph2887
Stephenson2765
McLean27313
Ogle2694
Clinton24117
Macon23422
LaSalle22517
Union19419
Whiteside19315
Coles17217
Grundy1715
Iroquois1615
Tazewell1498
Warren1430
Knox1370
Cass1367
Morgan1303
Monroe12913
Williamson1264
Adams1131
Jefferson10617
McDonough10215
Lee1012
Henry951
Vermilion772
Pulaski760
Marion690
Perry561
Macoupin553
Douglas540
Livingston522
Montgomery481
Jasper477
Unassigned470
Christian454
Jo Daviess451
Ford371
Jersey351
Woodford352
Bureau302
Franklin280
Menard240
Fayette233
Mercer230
Alexander220
Carroll222
Mason220
Wabash220
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Effingham171
Logan170
Bond161
Cumberland160
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt110
Brown100
Edgar100
Marshall100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
Lawrence70
White60
Hamilton50
Richland40
Stark40
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193