‘Dark’ Disinfo Group Operates Out of Israel, Report Claims
by i24 News
i24 News – A shadowy group spreading disinformation online and influencing electoral and other outcomes is based in Israel, the Guardian claimed in an exclusive report on Wednesday, prepared in collaboration with several other outlets.
The so-called “Team Jorge,” described as an elite “private service offering to covertly meddle in elections without a trace,” is headed by Tal Hanan, understood to be a security and cybersecurity ace with a vast experience of secretive warfare, digital and otherwise. His stock-in-trade is nothing less than “distorting reality,” the report claimed.
One of the endorsements on Hanan’s LinkedIn page reads as follows: “Tal is an exceptional person. Not only he is an expert on IEDs, suicide bombing and radical Islam, he is a fun person to work with.”
The report cited the findings of at least three undercover reporters—including two Israeli journalists—who obtained footage and audio recordings from the company’s operation center in the Israeli town of Modi’in, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Hanan was recorded boasting of being hired to impact the outcomes of 34 presidential campaigns, delivering successfully in the majority of cases.
One of the undercover reporters, Omer Benjacob of Haaretz, characterizes Hanan as “the head of a business that offers dark services to the highest bidder: digital surveillance, hack-and-leak smear campaigns, influence operations, disinformation, and election interference and suppression.”
After the Zoom meetings, Jorge offered to meet. @GurMegiddo and I came to his office and managed to get shots of the real Jorge – Tal Hanan – his brother – Zohar – and others #TeamJorge @FredMetzo https://t.co/bLAQYlnimN pic.twitter.com/8lDyyCZzbw
— Omer Benjakob (@omerbenj) February 15, 2023
Hanan appears to have run “at least some” of his operations through the Demoman International company, registered on a website run by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to promote local defense exports. The Demoman International homepage is graced with a quotation from the legendary Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, reading “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”