- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2003

JERUSALEM (AP) — In a rare breach of military security, portions of a secret Israeli missile test were seen on televisions across the Arab world when the company conducting the exercise apparently failed to encrypt its video transmission.

The broadcast from the supersecret control room conducting the test — including the range and performance of the missile and the discussion among top officers — was available for 48 hours to anyone with a satellite television dish.

A member of parliament said Thursday that a committee would investigate the security breach, which was discovered by a local television station that stumbled on the secret broadcast.

State-owned Israel Aircraft Industries carried out the test Wednesday over the Mediterranean Sea and intended to make an encrypted broadcast for an internal channel so the exercise could be monitored by officials on land.

Transmissions from the ocean test site were encrypted and not available for viewing. But a control room on land failed to encrypt the video at its end, said Alon Ben-David, a reporter for Channel 10, the station that discovered the security breach and broadcast a heavily censored version of the test.

“This was just like sending the test results to Damascus by fax,” Mr. Ben-David said, referring to the Syrian capital. “The whole thing is terribly embarrassing for the Israeli defense establishment. It clearly should never have happened.”

Israel Aircraft Industries confirmed the test took place.

Channel 10 noticed the mistake because it routinely scans thousands of satellite frequencies. Its reporter said the raw footage of the exercise, including sensitive defense information, could be seen by anyone with a satellite dish.

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