Israel attempts to whitewash spying on US

Israel attempts to whitewash spying on US
Sun May 11, 2014 12:24:01

Israel has angrily reacted to recent media reports about its spying on the United States and tried to whitewash the controversy by claiming that there are attempts to disturb Tel Aviv-Washington ties.

“One gets the impression that someone is trying to sabotage the excellent intelligence cooperation between the United States and Israel,” said Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz on Saturday.

“In all my meetings with US intelligence chiefs and the political officials who are responsible for them, I have not heard a single complaint about Israeli spying on the United States,” Steinitz claimed.

His reaction comes a few days after Newsweek reported that Tel Aviv’s espionage activities on the United States have reached an alarming level.

Tel Aviv’s efforts to “steal US secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have crossed red lines,” the report stated.

Newsweek obtained the contents of its report from US congressional staffers familiar with a briefing in January to a number of congressional committees tasked with discussing a law that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens applying to travel to the United States.

The US Visa Waiver Program would exempt Israelis from having to obtain a tourist visa, permitting them to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days.

According to one of the congressional staffers, the January briefing was “very sobering… alarming… even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”

Senior US intelligence officials have reportedly told the Congress that Israeli spying operations are going too far and that the extent of the espionage activities is shocking, far exceeding similar activities by any other close allies.

NTJ/HH

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