US intelligence officials say Israel has “crossed red lines” in its spying on America, according to a report published in Newsweek on Tuesday. According to the report, in closed door meetings the Americans expressed growing concerns that the Israeli “friends” had gone way too far in their espionage activities on US soil.
The remarks were reportedly made during intelligence briefings to members of Congress amidst ongoing discussions over whether or not to remove visa restrictions on Israelis wishing to visit the US. Currently, Israelis require a pre-approved visa to visit the US, while Americans can enter the Jewish state without any prearranged permits.
Newsweek reported that the American intelligence officials are most worried over what they said were Israeli’s constant efforts to obtain industrial and technological secrets. The officials insisted that while this is true of all nations, Israeli spying in America far exceeded that of any other ally.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren responded by telling Israel’s Ynet news portal that the allegations of Israeli spying were simply untrue. “Israel has not spied against the United States since the Pollard affair, period,” said Oren. “I do not know if there are people in the business and commercial arena that conduct espionage, as this happens all over the world, but no one is spying [in America] on behalf of the Israeli government.”
Another Israeli official told Ynet that it was probably a case of some American politicians who are opposed to removing visa restrictions on Israelis. “Anyone who opposes the removal of visas for Israeli has only to bring up the topic of intelligence security,” he said. “It always works.”
Another official said the entire affair carried the “stench of anti-Semitism.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also weighed in, telling Israel Radio: “We’re talking about lies and falsehood, simply libel which is baseless and unfounded. I am sorry that there are apparently anonymous elements in the United States who are simply trying to maliciously spread false accusations.”