Israeli compromise of U.S. telecommunications?

Peter Wayner pcw2 at
Thu Dec 20 18:14:51 EST 2001

These are very unsettling stories. But my favorite from recent days 
comes from the Oct 26 NY Times:

  "Federal prosecutors said Mr. Hanhardt used law enforcement 
computers and other databases to get information on traveling jewelry 
sales representatives, including itineraries and car rental 
information. Prosecutors said many of the thefts were from the rented 
automobiles. "

Mr. Hanhardt was Chief of Detectives for the Chicago Police 
Department. His gang, which operated from the early 1980's to 1998, 
reportedly stole more than $5 million. This may not be the best 
estimate because as part of his plea bargain, he's going to pay $4.8 
million and cash equal to half of the equity in his home. There were 
6 people in the gang. We probably don't know the full extent of his 
crime spree.

>I found the following four-part report by Carl Cameron rather shocking:
>Part 1:,2933,40684,00.html
>Part 2:,2933,40747,00.html
>Part 3:,2933,40824,00.html
>Part 4:,2933,40981,00.html
>Why should we be freely giving to Israeli corporations
>information (call records, CALEA information) that requires
>court orders to obtain in this country?  Such information
>is obviously sensitive, and the well-motivated efforts to
>strengthen and protect our national infrastructure should
>reasonably include mandating that such information not be
>routinely handled by any foreign entities...
>A more recent story indicates that the compromise was
>probably severe; criminals were escaping detection
>because of the compromise:
>This vindicates concerns many of us have expressed
>over the years about creating single points of failure
>in wiretapping systems (e.g. the vulnerability of key
>escrow, etc.).  Of course, in this case the vulnerability
>was intentionally created, it seems, by giving critical
>capabilities to foreign entities...
>Ronald L. Rivest
>Room 324, 200 Technology Square, Cambridge MA 02139
>Tel 617-253-5880, Fax 617-258-9738, Email <rivest at>
>The Cryptography Mailing List
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