Israeli Arrested for Hacking Mossad Espionage Agency Site

JERUSALEM - An Internet site run by the Mossad intelligence agency to recruit agents was hacked by an Israeli man, media reports said Monday.

The man, 23, who was not identified, was arrested and has been charged in a Jerusalem court, Israel Radio reported. It did not say what the charges were or when the incident occurred.

Both the Prime Minister's Office, which is responsible for the intelligence services, and the Justice Ministry refused to comment.

The Mossad, which was once so secretive that it prohibited the publication of the identity of its director, has opened up slightly in recent years.

It set up the Internet site last year in an attempt to widen the pool of potential recruits, allowing aspiring agents to submit online applications and send in a resume. Previously, the only way to become a Mossad operative was to receive an invitation to join the agency.

According to Monday's radio report, prosecutors say the man deliberately hacked into the system, and an expert witness described the attempt as a sophisticated attack.

However, the defense said the man just wanted to ensure that the information he was sending on his application form was secure and would not fall into the wrong hands, the radio said.

The man reportedly succeeded in breaking into the system but was unable to decipher the information he received.

The expert witness told the court that there are hundreds of attempts to hack the Mossad site each day, but most of them come from outside Israel, the radio said.

The defense criticized the Mossad for taking the issue to court instead of checking their site security, the radio said.