A senior U.S. official told the LA Times that the Politico story “is completely false. Absolutely false. I checked.”
By World Israel News Staff
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he did not believe that Israel was spying on the United States.
“I don’t believe that, I don’t think the Israelis are spying on us,” he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “I really would find that hard to believe.”
Trump added: “Anything’s possible, but I don’t believe that.”
Politico had reported that “the U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C.”
A senior administration official told the Los Angeles Times that the Politico story “is completely false. Absolutely false. I checked,” according to reporter Noga Tarnopolsky.
She also noted that Politico correspondent Daniel Lipman was standing by his story, telling Israeli Channel 12 News that his three former U.S. administration sources are “ironclad.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Politico report “a complete fabrication,” adding that there is “a directive…not to engage in any intelligence operations in the United States. This directive is rigorously enforced without exception,” the Israeli premier insisted.
“These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period,” said Elad Strohmayer, spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
The miniature surveillance devices referred to in the report are “colloquially known as ‘StingRays,’” said Politico.
The devices “mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information,” it says, adding that “they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.”