President Trump has denied a leaked report claiming Israel placed “stingray” spying devices around the White House, and is taking no action to punish the eavesdroppers.
By John Friend
In an explosive report published in early September, the D.C.-based political journal Politico cited three former senior U.S. officials who all confirmed that Israel was more than likely behind the stationing of sophisticated cellphone surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, an espionage operation designed to surveil and monitor President Donald Trump and his closest advisers and confidants.
The devices, commonly known as “Stingrays” in intelligence circles, mimic cell towers and trick cellphones in the area into giving up their sensitive data, including their location and other identifying information. The devices are also known to be able to capture a cellphone’s data use, call contents, and other important information key to espionage operations. It was unclear how successful the operation was.
Politico’s report came following an extensive investigation conducted over the course of the past two years by top federal officials and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Secret Service, into foreign espionage operations carried out against the U.S. federal government, a key concern for national security and intelligence officials.
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” an unnamed former senior U.S. intelligence official told Politico.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied the reports, insisting that Israel would never spy on the U.S. Describing the report as a “blatant lie,” the prime minister’s office released a statement describing “a longstanding commitment” and “directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S.”
“This directive is strictly enforced without exception,” the statement continued. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz denied the reports as well, and issued a statement instead focusing on the cooperation the Israeli government shares with the U.S.
“The U.S. and Israel share a lot of intelligence information and work together to prevent threats and strengthen the security of both countries,” Katz stated.
Other former Israeli officials, including Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, denied and denounced the report, describing such allegations as “fake news spiced with anti-Semitism.”
U.S. officials likewise were quick to deny the report, with an unnamed senior U.S. official telling the Los Angeles Times that the report is “completely” and “absolutely false.” President Donald Trump himself denied and downplayed the report, telling reporters recently that he doesn’t think “the Israelis are spying on us.”
“I really would find that hard to believe,” the president stated. “My relationship with Israel has been great.”
Israel has a long, well-documented history of spying on the U.S., including monitoring private conversations, obtaining sensitive and classified information relating to technological and industrial advancements, and stealing military secrets. Additionally, allegations of Israeli-sponsored blackmail operations against key U.S. politicians and officials have long proliferated in the nation’s capital and around the country, with the recent scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein being one prime example.
And, of course, there was the revelation of a massive Israeli spy ring operating in and around sensitive U.S. targets before Sept. 11, 2001, as confirmed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in its special draft report on the subject, reproduced by American Free Press. This report was suppressed by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and officially dismissed as an “urban myth,” but the facts in this DEA report belie the Department of Justice and FBI joint cover-up of Israeli spying and possible foreknowledge of 9/11.
Given the Trump administration’s fierce loyalty to Israel, no action was taken following the revelation by federal investigators that the Mideast state was likely behind the deployment of the espionage devices in the nation’s capital. One former U.S. official told Politico that they were “not aware of any accountability at all.
“The reaction . . . was very different than it would have been in the last administration,” the official stated, describing how unconcerned the Trump administration was with the findings of federal investigators. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
The former federal officials cited by Politico went on to describe the nature of Israeli espionage operations, noting that the “Israelis are pretty aggressive” when it comes to intelligence gathering.
“They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to, to achieve that objective,” he added.
Despite the U.S.’s unwavering political and diplomatic support for Israel and the granting of billions of dollars annually in financial assistance and other forms of aid, America’s “greatest ally” continues to engage in treachery, subversion, and blatant criminality in the heart of the U.S. capital with impunity.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.