US State Department does not deny reports of 'unrivaled' Israeli spying

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that the US works to foster a healthy relationship between their intelligence communities.

By
May 13, 2014 23:24
1 minute read.
US Capitol building in Washington DC.

US Capitol building in Washington DC 390. (photo credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON -- The State Department declined to refute reports that Israel regularly spies on the United States, and has for decades, after claims of expansive intelligence activity surfaced in the press last week.

Asked by The Jerusalem Post to confirm or contextualize the allegations, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki only said that Israel and the US work to foster a healthy relationship between their intelligence communities.

"We don't comment on intelligence matters," Psaki said. "We have a close intelligence partnership with Israel, and value our cooperation with them in this field because it serves our mutual interests."

A US official told the Post that the Obama administration does not want to make a habit of confirming or denying such claims.

But other unnamed US officials asserted the extent of Israeli spying on the US was "unrivaled and unseemly," according to a report featured in Newsweek magazine last week.

Israeli leaders sought an official US response to the reports over the weekend.


Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who holds the intelligence portfolio in the Netanyahu government, accused “someone of trying to maliciously and intentionally harm relations between Israel and the United States" on Saturday.

Steinitz "unequivocally" denied the report as having "no basis" in fact.​ ​But the initial report was proceeded by a second, which detailed alleged ​ ​US efforts to "cover up" Israel ​'s​ spying on Vice President Al Gore in 1998.

The report ​ claimed that ​the US ​ Secret Service caught an Israeli "agent" in an air duct in the process of bugging the vice president's hotel room.

Since National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden leaked classified documents on American intelligence tactics, US President Barack Obama has suggested that the US spies on its allies— with the tacit understanding that the practice is mutual.

​Publicly, Obama has drawn the line at ​spying on foreign leaders, after revelations that the US had tapped the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But the US president has said that foreign allies would conduct greater surveillance if they had the capability to do so.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN