A report was issued by the Politico publication accusing Israel’s intelligence agency of unabashedly spying on U.S. officials in Washington in general, and the White House in particular.
According to the U.S.-based publication, “the U.S. government concluded within the past 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,” purportedly quoting three people identified as former U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
The article further claimed that one of the sources believed “the devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, as well as his top aides and closest associates,” although also noted that it remains unclear “whether the Israeli efforts were successful.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by rejecting the Politico allegations as ‘a complete fabrication.’ He further insisted that the report may have been published in the hopes of driving a wedge between President Donald Trump and him.
The journalist behind the story, Daniel Lippmann, told Israeli media that he stands by his report. He claimed that while Israel might not be recruiting agents in the United States, it did conduct espionage using technological measures.
President Donald Trump is meanwhile also rejecting the accusations. The U.S. leader said: “I don’t believe that. No, I don’t think the Israeli’s were spying on us. I really would find that hard to believe. My relationship with Israel has been great, you look at Golan heights, you look at Jerusalem – with moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, becoming the capital, you look at even the Iran deal -what’s happened with Iran. Iran is a much different country right now, then it was two-and-a-half years ago. It’s in a much different position. No, I don’t believe that. I wouldn’t believe that story. But, anything is possible, but I don’t believe it.”
It is important to note that the Politico news agency has been subject to repeated accusations of anti-Semitism in recent years. The Magazine published an article in April of 2017, it which it claimed to have revealed long-term links between U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Jewish outreach organization Chabad-Lubavitch.