Using the latest commercial software, Nasrallah’s spy-hunters unit began methodically searching for traitors in Hezbollah’s midst. To find them, U.S. officials said, Hezbollah examined cellphone data looking for anomalies. The analysis identified cellphones that, for instance, were used rarely or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time. Then it came down to old-fashioned, shoe-leather detective work: Who in that area had information that might be worth selling to the enemy?
That led to the arrest of over 100 Israeli spies in 2009, reports the AP.
Back at CIA headquarters, the arrests alarmed senior officials. The agency prepared a study on its own vulnerabilities, U.S. officials said, and the results proved to be prescient. The analysis concluded that the CIA was susceptible to the same analysis that had compromised the Israelis, the officials said.
The lessons the CIA learned did not prevent their own spies from getting caught. Though they may have been more clever about how they used their cell phones, they weren’t very clever in coming up with code words. According to ABC News, CIA agents were using “pizza” as a codeword for their secret rendezvous spot with spies, which Hezbollah deduced was a Pizza Hut in Beirut. According to unnamed government officials who spoke with ABC, monitoring the Pizza Hut delivered the identities of the Lebanese spies working with the CIA.