Israeli high-tech, spies, and commandos merge in Cambridge firm
publication date: Oct 8, 2010
The arrest by the FBI of Elliot Doxer, a financial employee of the Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies, Inc. for trying to sell company secrets to officials of the Israeli Consulate in Boston has once again raised the profile of the firm that was also at the center of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
After first approaching the Israeli Consulate, Doxer made 62 "dead drops" with an undercover FBI agent who Doxer believed was an Israeli intelligence agent. The dead drops occurred between September 2007 and March 2009.
As is usually the case with Israeli espionage cases, the Justice Department documents filed in the case merely refer to Israel as "Country X." The Justice Department reportedly said "Country X," cooperated in the investigation of Doxer. However, the Justice Department does not indicate when "Country X's" cooperation began. The US Attorney's Office in Boston claims that Israeli consular officials cooperated with U.S. officials before accepting Doxer's offer, but it does not indicate when the cooperation actually began -- upon initital contact by Doxer or after a period of time subsequent to initial contact.
Doxer was only charged with a single count of wire fraud. The Justice Department is not alleging any wrongdoing by Israel.
According to court filings by the government, Doxer wrote an e-mail to the Israeli Consulate and stated: "I am a Jewish American who lives in Boston. I know you are always looking for information and I am offering the little I may have." Eventually, the information Doxer turned over to the FBI's undercover agent included a list of Akamai's clients, contracts with clients, a full list of Akamai employees, and details on access to the company's computer systems and physical spaces. Akamai provides Internet services.
The following is the US Attorney's press release on Doxer's arrest, with Israel not mentioned:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2010
EMPLOYEE OF HIGH TECHNOLOGY COMPANY CHARGED WITH SEEKING TO PROVIDE CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION TO A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT
BOSTON, Mass. - An employee of a high technology company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts was arrested and charged today in federal court with secretly providing confidential business information over an 18-month period to a person he believed to be an agent of a foreign government.
ELLIOT DOXER, 42, of Brookline, Massachusetts, was charged in a Complaint with one count of wire fraud. Doxer worked in the finance department of Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies, Inc., a provider of Internet content delivery services. The Complaint alleges that on June 22, 2006, Doxer sent an email to a foreign country’s consulate in Boston stating that he was willing to provide any information he had access to, that might help the foreign country. It is alleged that in later communications, Doxer said his chief desire “was to help our homeland and our war against our enemies.” He also allegedly asked for $3,000 in light of the risks he was taking. The foreign government cooperated with the United States in the investigation.
The Complaint alleges that in September 2007, a U.S. federal agent posing undercover as an agent of the foreign country spoke to Doxer and established a “dead drop” where the agent and Doxer could exchange written communications. The Complaint further alleges that from September 2007 through March 2009, Doxer visited the “dead drop” at least 62 times to leave confidential business information, retrieve communications, or check for new communications.
The Complaint alleges that among the confidential business items Doxer provided the undercover agent were an extensive list of Akamai’s customers; some contracts between Akamai and various customers revealing contact, services, pricing, and termination date information; and a comprehensive list of Akamai’s employees that revealed their positions and full contact information. According to the Complaint, Doxer also broadly described Akamai’s physical and computer security systems and stated that he could travel to the foreign country and could support special and sensitive operations in his local area if needed.
The Complaint does not allege that any representative of any foreign government sought or obtained sensitive information in this case, nor does the Complaint charge any foreign government representative with wrongdoing.
If convicted, Doxer faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, a $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss, whichever is highest, and restitution to the victim.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. The case is being investigated by members of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Section and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Weinreb and Scott Garland respectively in Ortiz’s Antiterrorism and National Security Unit and Computer Crimes Unit. Akamai Technologies, Inc. cooperated fully in the investigation.
The details contained in the Complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case against Doxer makes little sense considering the fact that Akamai Technologies was co-founded by Daniel Lewin, a member if the Israeli "deep insertion" commando special unit, the Sayeret Matkal, also known as the General Command Reconnaissance Unit. The unit usually gathers intelligence deep within enemy territory. Lewin was a passenger on American Airline flight 11 and allegedly died when hijackers crashed the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Lewin was born in Denver but raised in Jerusalem. He also worked for IBM's research laboratory in Haifa and studies at Haifa Technion in Haifa, Israel and his official record includes four years of service with the Israeli Defense Force.
With Akamai's obvious connections to Israeli intelligence, why would Doxer believe the Israelis would pay him for information they could easily obtain directly from the firm?
The editor previously wrote about Lewin, Akamai, and American Airlines flight 11 in an expose of suspicious Israeli espionage activities before, during, and after the 9/11 attacks:
"Around 8:10 AM on September 11, 2001, American Airlines flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney, a 13-year veteran of the airline, used her cell phone to report to her supervisor at Logan Airport in Boston about the hijacking and murders occurring on her aircraft. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Memorandum written the same day stated that one of the hijackers assigned to seat 10B (reportedly Satam Al Suqami) shot and killed the passenger assigned to seat 9B. The passenger shot was reported to have been Daniel C. Lewin, an Israeli-American agent with the top secret Israeli anti-terrorist Unit 269 of the counter-terrorism Sayeret Matkal branch of the Israeli Defense Force.
Lewin also served as the chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies, Inc., a software company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 911 Commission Report stated that Lewin was stabbed and not shot by Suqami. While Lewin and Israel were praised in the report no mention was made of Sweeney’s last words to her superiors.
The FAA Memo, which was later reported by the FAA to be alternately erroneous and a first draft, was eventually scrubbed from the FAA’s internal e-mail system. The original FAA memo stated:
September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, several commercial air carrier incidents, believed to be terrorist-related, occurred in various locations in the United States. As numerous U.S. passenger air carriers were involved, this has impacted many passengers as well as numerous persons on the ground in these various crash sites. The following is a summary of the events, which have occurred:
American Airlines Flight 11, departed today from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), bound for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The aircraft type was a Boeing 767-200 with eighty-one passengers, nine flight attendants and two crew in the cockpit, which totaled 92 persons on this flight. At approximately 9:18 AM, it was reported that the two crew members in the cockpit were stabbed. The flight then descended with no communication from the flight crew members. The American Airlines FAA Principle Security Inspector (PSI) was notified by Suzanne Clark of American Airlines Corporate Headquarters, that an on board flight attendant contacted American Airlines Operations Center and informed that a passenger located in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B at 9:20 AM. The passenger killed was Daniel Lewin, shot by passenger Satam Al Suqami. One bullet was reported to have been fired. The flight headed in the direction of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). At 9:25 AM, this flight crashed directly into one of the towers at the World Trade Center. At 11:26 AM, a passenger manifest was obtained. The status of any selectees is as yet undetermined.
United Airlines Flight 93 departed this morning, from Newark International Airport (EWR) bound for San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The aircraft type is Boeing 757, confirmation pending. The flight consisted of thirty-eight passengers, two pilots and five crew members, which totaled 45 persons on this flight. Two selectee passengers (Christine Adams and Nicole Miller) were boarded on this flight with no unusual behavior noted per the air carrier personnel and screeners. No cargo was on board this flight. One unit load device (ULD), was on board containing U.S. mail. At 9:42 AM, there was a report of a bomb threat on board this flight. Passengers’ screams were heard in the cabin. At 10:05 AM, the Illinois State Police received a 9-1-1 telephone call from a passenger on that flight, who reported that three hijackers were on board with knives and reportedly made a bomb threat. The three hijackers were reported to be rushing to the cockpit area. At 10:12 AM, the flight crashed near Sommerset, PA. This location is approximately 70-90 miles from Pittsburgh near Route 30.
United Airlines Flight 175, departed from Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), bound for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This aircraft type was a Boeing 767. There were no selectee passengers on this flight. The flight consisted of nine crew members and forty-seven passengers, which totaled fifty-six persons on this flight. At 9:30 AM, radar contact with FAA air traffic control was lost. At 9:45 AM, United Airlines reported that one flight attendant was stabbed and two crew members were killed. This flight crashed into the second World Trade Center Tower.
American Airlines Flight 77, departed Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), destined for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This flight departed Gate D26 of the IAD mid-field terminal at 8:09 a.m., and was airborne at 8:21 AM. The aircraft type was a Boeing 757. Number of selectee passengers is unknown at this time; ramp personnel noticed two selectees checked bags on the ramp. One non-selectee passenger did not board due to confusion of gate location. This flight consisted of fifty-eight passengers and six flight crew members, which totaled sixty-four persons on this flight. There was no cargo being transported on this aircraft. There were a total of thirty-five checked bags. It is presumed that this flight crashed into the Pentagon located in Washington, DC at approximately 10:00 AM.
Additional information is continuously being gathered on each of the four incidents described above.
911/01 5:31 PM
Lewin founded Akamai while he was an MIT graduate student. He founded the firm in 1998 with MIT mathematics professor Frank Thomas Leighton. After 9/11, Akamai provided "free of charge" its web services to numerous government agencies that had problems handling spikes in Internet traffic. It is not known whether the information Doxer offered the Israelis included the list of government agencies receiving the post-9/11 free web services and what those services entailed. Nor has the FBI indicated whether e-mail, confidential or otherwise, sent to government agencies by witnesses to the events of 9/11 was retained by Akamai.
In 2006, retired Army Colonel Fran Trentley, the chief information officer for the White House Communications Agency and who supported Presidential travel missions, joined Akamai as Director of Operations and Delivery for the firm's public sector business services.
In 2006, Akamai established a Network Operations Command Center in Reston, Virginia that monitors global Internet traffic for U.S. government agencies. Akamai has contracts with Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, the Transportation Security Administration, the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network, the Whitehouse.gov website, and the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program.