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Jun 29 2010

Alfa exec leaked sensitive data to Mossad - report

29 June 2010

BEIRUT: A senior executive at mobile telecom firm Alfa has been providing sensitive information to the Mossad since 1996, As-Safir newspaper reported on Monday.

The man identified as “Charbel K.,” who occupies a sensitive post in Alfa , was arrested Thursday night while heading back home from work, added the newspaper.

The 56-year-old Lebanese, who hails from the Chouf village of Alman, was detained after being watched by members of the Lebanese Army Intelligence Directory on suspicions of collaborating with Israel.

Also, the operation was carried out in coordination with Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji and the prosecutor’s office.

As-Safir quoted some employees in Alfa as saying that Charbel was responsible for the BTS section which enabled him to control more than 650 Alfa telecommunication stations across Lebanon.

During primary investigations with Charbel, he confessed that he had been dealing with the Mossad since 1996.

He admitted that Israeli authorities had ordered him to place, in all stations belonging to the firm,technical devices which enabled the Mossad to control the whole process of Alfa cellular communications.

According to As-Safir, Charbel rendered valuable services to Mossad during Israel’s summer 2006 war against Lebanon, including wiretapping on the cellular calls of several individuals

Given his sensitive post, Charbel could watch and trace the movement of any Alfa subscriber along with determining his phone number, address and personal information.

Security forces are trying to determine whether the suspect had any partners or whether he was a member of a wider spying network.

Following Charbel’s confessions, a unit from the Lebanese Army Intelligence Directory raided the headquarters of Alfa in the Furn al-Shebbak neighborhood Friday, confiscating Charbel’s personal computer, along with documents from his car and office.

Communication devices possessed by the Alfa executive were also withheld and are being examined by technicians from the Lebanese Army.

In remarks published by As-Safir Monday, Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas said he heard of the arrest via media outlets.

Nahhas said he contacted Alfa to ask why it hadn’t informed him that Charbel had been apprehended, conveying his feelings that members of the Alfa staff were “confused.”

Nahhas said the detainee had been working for a long time in the telecommunications sector, noting that he had been an employee at Cellis, one of the two firms previously operating cellular telecommunications in Lebanon.

Charbel was on the Telecommunications Ministry’s staff before assuming his responsibilities at Cellis, said Nahhas.

The minister added that he was interested in the issue because there was a contract signed between the Lebanese state and Alfa , “and we want to make sure the parties we are dealing with are resilient and not infiltrated [by the Mossad].”

On Monday, Army Command issued a statement announcing that a person identified as “Ch. K,” had been arrested on suspicion of collaborating with Israel, adding that the detainee was being interrogated by concerned judiciary.

According to the National News Agency, Head of Media and Telecommunications Parliamentary committee, Bint Jbeil MP Hassan Fadlallah, also a Hizbullah official, will hold a news conference on Tuesday during which he will touch on the arrest of Charbel.

Separately, head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt urged Lebanese security agencies to step up their efforts, saying: “This Israeli infiltration in the Lebanese society requires taking immediate and swift measures.” – The Daily Star

© Copyright The Daily Star 2010.


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