A bombshell report by Politico claims that the U.S. government concluded that Israel was most likely behind surveillance devices planted near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C.
Citing three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter, Politico reported devices capable of tracking cellphone activity had been uncovered.
Politico says Israel was behind the “Stingray” spy devices, and says that they were primarily intended to spy on President Donald Trump and his associates.
The U.S. government acknowledged in early 2018 that the Department of Homeland Security found illicit Stingrays near the White House and across other locations in Washington, but at that time no one knew who had planted the espionage devices. Stingrays are briefcase-sized electronics that spy on cellphones by mimicking cell towers, tricking smartphones into giving the Stingray installer a lot of information. Some Stingrays can even intercept calls by forcing the call onto 2G, which is unencrypted.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service played a role in the investigation, which may also have involved the NSA and CIA, Politico reported.
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” a former US senior intelligence official said.
he Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement on the report, calling the accusation “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. This directive is strictly enforced without exception,” the statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office read.
In the article, one of the three former intelligence and national security officials, none of whom were identified, said the Trump administration – which describes itself as the most pro-Israel US government in history – did not rebuke its ally.
“The reaction … was very different than it would have been in the last [Obama] administration,” one former senior intelligence official was quoted as saying. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
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