Outside of the National Security Agency (NSA), there is one other intelligence agency which has produced and collected massive amounts of signal & human intelligence around the globe….they are the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU or Unit 8200. The unit is composed of many young Israelis who are firmly adept in the areas of cybersecurity and intelligence. Since the term here is short, many within Unit 8200 are quick to adapt and learn while they teach those who are coming in at younger ages are learned thru the fast process. According to the Director of Military Sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, “Unit 8200 is probably the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stands on a par with the NSA in everything except scale.” Those who leave the closely guarded unit go on to work for major tech companies around the world. Former Unit 8200 soldiers have, after completing their military service, gone on to founding and occupying top positions in many international IT companies and in Silicon Valley in California.
Unit 8200 was established in 1952 using primitive surplus American military equipment. Originally, it was called the 2nd Intelligence Service Unit and then the 515th Intelligence Service Unit. In 1954, the unit moved from Jaffa to its current base at the Glilot junction. The IDF along with a select group within the government help process those who are quite knowledgeable in the arts of espionage. The rapid ascent into the Unit is quite common, since the unit only has a 3–4 year room for learning before the members are off to other intelligence gathering areas. Israel is home to more Nasdaq-listed companies than any country except the U.S. and China. On a per capita basis Israel boasts more venture capital, more startups and more scientists and tech professionals than any other country in the world. Many tech companies have been founded by former members of Unit 8200, Listing will be provided in the link below:
It is unclear as to how many students are in Unit 8200 since the shrouded intelligence unit is closely guarded even from those within the Israeli military and government. However according to Avishai Abrahami a former Unit 8200 recruit, “There’s nobody around to tell you how to do it. The culture inside — and it’s by design — is that your superiors just tell you to go figure it out. That gives you the huge freedom to think differently. It’s you or nobody else. And when you’re an entrepreneur, that’s the most important skill. When you do 5 or 10 or 20 of those projects, you’ve just built 3 things that could be a startup.”