Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo
Jun. 30, 2015
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli espionage.
The expo was part of a conference promoting business partnerships between military and civilian industries. About two dozen Israeli companies — some of them founded by ex-intelligence officers — exhibited products used by militaries, police units and intelligence agencies in Israel and around the world.
It was the first such display of Israeli-made surveillance products in a non-covert setting in Israel, said Ron Kitrey, a retired Israeli military intelligence official who chaired the conference.
"It's the tip of the iceberg, what we show here," Kitrey said. "We would be irresponsible and stupid to show people the roots of the iceberg."
The event had the feel of an ordinary industrial expo, with booths lined up one next to the other and company representatives offering candy and brochures to entice visitors.
A representative of Ametrine Technologies was showing off his company's product -- multi-spectral camouflage fatigues that make soldiers invisible to heat-sensing cameras -- when his cellphone rang to the James Bond theme song.
Bond would feel at home at the booth of Israeli company Pro4Tech. It designs mini-cameras that shoot video, take photos and record audio that are hidden inside ordinary-looking objects, like a fake sprinkler, a fake soda can, a real pen, a necktie, and a coffee cup that contains a compartment for hot coffee.
Dolev Amit, a company representative, said it sells these gadgets to government agencies only, including Israel's Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence agencies, and "all the three-letter agencies" in the US, like the CIA and the FBI.
The Israeli company YTS displayed a white Toyota Corolla it transformed into a covert special ops surveillance car, with hidden video cameras in the seat cushions and trunk that provide 360-degree footage.
It also displayed an unmarked white van made to serve as a covert mobile command and control center. The van collects the water produced by the air conditioning unit so it does not drip onto the pavement and reveal that the vehicle is on.
The company said it has retrofitted cars made to look like delivery vans and even militants' vehicles for Israeli military units and intelligence agencies.
"You don't want everyone to see you're watching with a camera, like in the movies," said Alon Tal of YTS.
Israeli military and intelligence officials, along with their counterparts in other countries, addressed the conference in a separate room.
Participants at the conference included Israeli military, police and intelligence representatives, as well as military attaches and ambassadors of various countries. Representatives of the Jordanian army were also present.
Kitrey, the conference head, said he assumed "spooks and spies" of various countries interested in learning about Israeli technologies could also be present at the conference.