Over the final 2 years, Israeli spies might have planted cellular phone eavesdropping units close to the White House and different “sensitive locations” round Washington, DC, in line with a current explosive report. The Israeli PM denies this.
The units – generally often known as ‘StingRays’ – have been first found by the Department of Homeland Security in 2018, Politico reports. They can trick cellular phone towers into revealing location knowledge and different figuring out data, in addition to the content material of cellphone calls.
They have been seemingly planted to hear in on the communications of President Donald Trump and his closest aides, a former official instructed Politico.
While it isn’t clear whether or not the eavesdropping operation was profitable, a former senior intelligence official stated it was “pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”
The revelation is way from the first of its variety: Israeli spying operations concentrating on the United States have been a relentless nuisance for American intelligence companies over the a long time, with Washington even naming the nation as a high espionage menace, in line with paperwork leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Perhaps the highest-profile US-Israeli spying scandal is that of Jonathan Pollard, an American intelligence analyst who was convicted underneath the Espionage Act in 1987 for passing labeled materials to the Israeli authorities and sentenced to life in jail. Due to federal tips in place at the time of his sentencing, nevertheless, Pollard was freed on parole after spending almost 30 years behind bars, however his case endures as considered one of the few occasions Israeli snooping was punished.
In the late 1990s, the Israelis additionally listened in on delicate diplomatic talks between US President Bill Clinton and Syrian chief Hafez Assad, in line with British-Israeli writer Ahron Bregman, who obtained transcripts of the confidential conversations.
In one comical, if not disconcerting, episode throughout Clinton’s reign – recounted by Newsweek’s Jeff Stein – a Secret Service agent on then-Vice President Al Gore’s safety element stated that in a sweep of the VP’s resort room, he heard a “metallic scraping sound” coming from the ceiling. To his shock, a person quickly got here crawling out of a heating duct into the resort room – an Israeli spy.
“He kind of coughed and the guy went back into the vents,” the agent instructed Stein, including that whereas he thought the incident “crossed the line” for conduct befitting allies, the Israelis confronted no penalties.
More just lately, Israeli brokers set their sights on the Barack Obama administration’s closed-door Iran deal negotiations, in line with a 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal, serving to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities acquire the phrases of the accord earlier than they have been made public.
Much like nearly each earlier spying revelation, Netanyahu denied the Politico report unequivocally on Thursday, suggesting it was ‘fake news’, in so many phrases.
“We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies,” he instructed a crowd of reporters in Russia. “And it’s vigorously implemented, without any exception. [The report] is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication.”