by Elad Benari
Trump downplays report on alleged Israeli spying in Washington: I really would find that hard to believe.
Donald TrumpUS President Donald Trump on Thursday downplayed a report on alleged Israeli spying in Washington.
“I don’t think the Israelis are spying on us. I really would find that hard to believe,” he told reporters.
While the President added that “anything’s possible”, he reiterated he doesn’t believe it.
Earlier on Thursday, a senior US administration official said that the report in Politico is “completely false”.
The unnamed official told Los Angeles Times reporter Noga Tarnopolsky that the story, which appeared on the Politico website, "is completely false. Absolutely false. I checked."
The report said that an investigation by security forces in the United States has led to the suspicion that Israel is behind the placing of miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” in the vicinity of the White House.
The devices in question mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. According to Politico, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.
Based on forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom the report said served in top intelligence and national security posts.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied the Politico report as he landed in Sochi where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Netanyahu said, "Lies. Complete nonsense. I have a clear directive - no intelligence collections in the US, and this directive is completely enforced."
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