The devices, known as StingRays, essentially trick cell phones into providing information about location and identity information, as well as the content of calls and data, according to the report. The story quotes three former senior United States officials who say an FBI investigation pointed the figure directly at Israel.
According to the report, a US government investigation concluded that Israel was behind several devices that were uncovered in the past two years, most likely aimed at spying on US President Donald Trump, his closest circle and other government officials.
That would be a deep contrast to the years-long diplomatic strain that followed the sentencing of Jonathan Pollard, a former USA intelligence analyst who pleaded guilty to spying for Israel and who was later granted Israeli citizenship. The prime minister was en route Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin before Israelis head to the polls on September 17.
The U.S. government's conclusion that Israel planted the devices was made sometime between 2018 and now, the report also said.
Israel denies playing any role in the matter. "Israel doesn't conduct espionage operations in the United States, period". "The US and Israel share a lot of intelligence information and work together to prevent threats and strengthen the security of both countries".
Amos Yadlin, a former IDF general who headed the Intelligence Directorate, derided the report as "fake news seasoned with anti-Semitism".
Charles Freilich, a former national security adviser in Israel and an analyst on U.S. -Israel relations also said the report was likely false. "I find it very hard to believe that this policy has changed", he said.
"We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies", he told a crowd of reporters in Russian Federation.
Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel, leaves a New York court house following his release from prison early on Friday after 30 years on November 20, 2015 in New York, New York.
Rafi Eitan - a Mossad agent who captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1960 - was exposed in the 1980s as the handler of Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. analyst who gave thousands of top secret documents to Israel.
However, unconfirmed accounts over the years suggest that Pollard was never recruited as a spy, but rather volunteered for the work after being introduced to an Israeli military officer in NY in 1984.