U.S. intelligence has reportedly concluded that Israeli agents used advanced surveillance tech to try to siphon secret information from the phones of various elected officials in the Washington, D.C. area.
Speaking to Politico on Thursday, three former high-ranking officials claimed U.S. investigators had uncovered damning evidence of Israeli espionage being conducted around the White House and at other sensitive locations.
The Israelis reportedly used “StingRay-type IMSI-catcher” devices, which are advanced pieces of surveillance technology that mimic the signal of wireless cell phone towers. Nearby mobile phones and other cellular data devices are forced to connect to the StingRay’s false signal.
Speaking to Politico, a senior official confirmed that “it was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”
…as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top Department of Homeland Security official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Based on a detailed 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 served in top intelligence and national security posts.
Israel has vehemently placing the devices, and Israeli Embassy spokesperson Elad Strohmayer claimed, “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”