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Israel planted devices near White House to spy on Trump: Report

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US intelligence services think Israel is responsible for planting cellphone surveillance devices near the White House, and in other sensitive locations in Washington DC, to spy on President Donald Trump, Politico reported on Thursday.

The tiny surveillance devices were found in locations across the US capital, and were planted in an attempt to access communications between Trump and allies and aides, three former US officials told the site.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security reportedly discovered the devices at some point over the last two years and told the Trump administration, with Israel believed to have most likely been responsible.

Politico reports that they were StingRays, a type of device capable of capturing texts, emails, phone calls, and location data from nearby cellphones by tricking the phones into thinking it is communicating with a real cell tower.

It is not clear whether the devices successfully gathered any sensitive information.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a bilateral meeting during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2018.
Carlos Barria/Reuters

Despite the suspicions of intelligence services, the Trump administration has not confronted Israel about the espionage and Israel has not been held to account, Politico reported.

“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” a former intelligence official told the publication.

Read more: Benjamin Netanyahu was rushed off stage at a campaign rally after a rocket was launched towards the Israeli city where he was speaking

In a statement to Politico, the Israeli embassy denied being responsible for the devices.

“These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period,” a spokesperson told the publication.

The US is among Israel’s staunchest global allies, but that has not prevented Israel seeking to steal US secrets.

Back in 2014, Obama administration officials told Newsweek that Israel had “crossed red lines” rarely encountered in the past in their bid to obtain sensitive information from the US.

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