Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Netanyahu, Trump deny report of Israeli spying near White House

Israel Rejects Report it was Spying on White House Israel planted spying devices near White House, says report
Emmett Howard | 13 September, 2019, 05:59

They mimic cell towers in a bid to fool cellular telephones into passing on their location and other identifying information, as well as call and data information.

The report comes at a sensitive time, with Israelis returning to the polls next week for a second general election this year as Netanyahu fights to hold on to his office.

"A blatant lie. There is a longstanding commitment and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US".

Speaking on a trip to Russia, Netanyahu said there was no eavesdropping on cell phones around the U.S. presidency because he had forbidden spying against the United States.

On Thursday, Netanyahu headed to Sochi, Russia, to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz, also denied the report.

This, despite the fact that, according to one of the former officials cited in the report, "the devices were likely meant to spy on President Donald Trump... as well as his top aides and closest associates".

In a sign, perhaps, of the especially close relationship between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Politico reports that one of the former officials said that "unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel's behavior".

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USA intelligence officials would not confirm that Israel was suspected of placing the devices in Washington, but one current senior national security official told CBS News' Olivia Gazis, "if that's all there is, it's not as bad as it could be - but don't assume that's it".

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, wrote on Twitter that the report was "fake news with a spice of anti-Semitism".

"We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies", Netanyahu stated.

"Anything is possible, but I don't believe it", Trump said.

Charles Freilich, a former national security adviser in Israel and an analyst on U.S. -Israel relations also said the report was likely false.

In 1986, an American court found Jewish American citizen, Jonathan Pollard, guilty of espionage on behalf of Israel.

Israel, one of the United states' closest allies, issued a strong denial.

In 2006, former US Department of Defense employee Lawrence Franklin received a 13-year prison sentence for passing classified documents on US policy towards Iran to Israel. He later told colleagues that he had been "cultivated" by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, to spy on the United States.

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