Against IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assertion to have not spied on U.S., American officials told he LA Times that Israel secretly maintains a large and active intelligence-gathering operation in the United States, and regularly attempted to recruit U.S. officials as spies and to procure classified documents.
Israel says it set a policy of not spying on the United States after Jonathan Pollard’s arrest in November 1985.
I can tell you here, very authoritatively, very categorically, Israel does not spy on the United States, Israeli Ambassador in the U.s. Danny Ayalon told CNN this week.
But a former U.S. intelligence official, who is familiar with the Franklin probe, told the LA Times that Israel aggressively targets U.S. intelligence.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United StatesÃ¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States.Ã¢â‚¬Â He added.
Current and former officials involved with Israel at the White House, CIA, State Department and Congress had similar appraisals, the paper said.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official who focused on Middle East issues told the paper that Israel tried to recruit him as a spy in 1991.
As well, Washington post, quoting unnamed U.S. officials and other sources, said Thursday that the FBI had been investigating for more than two years whether the AIPAC pro-Israel lobbying group has been passing classified intelligence data to Israel.
‘The counterintelligence probe focuses on a possible transfer of intelligence more extensive than whether Franklin passed on a draft presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran,Ã¢â‚¬Â the sources said.
The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of communications, was also forwarded to Israel,’ the paper added.
AIPAC has forcefully denied that any of its personnel received classified information.