Why would Israel spy on Donald Trump?

Two men sit in chairs talking

President Donald Trump has accepted at face value Israel’s denial that it placed listening devices near the White House. (via Flickr)

Benjamin Netanyahu categorically denies a report in Politico that Israel placed sophisticated eavesdropping devices near the White House.

“We have a directive, I have a directive, no intelligence work in the United States, no spies. And it’s vigorously implemented, without any exception,” the Israeli prime minister said in response to the report.

“It is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication.”

Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli intelligence chief, is even trying to discredit the Politico report with the usual smear of anti-Semitism:

But there are good reasons to believe that it is Netanyahu who is lying.

As difficult as it may be to prove, given the nature of intelligence work, almost no one – certainly not the US officials quoted by Politico – doubts that Israel does spy on the US.

Almost no one – except Donald Trump who credulously accepted Netanyahu’s denial at face value.

Intended to spy on Trump

Three former officials told Politico that the mobile phone monitoring devices were found within the last two years.

“The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates – though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful,” according to Politico.

“One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government,” the publication added.

What gives the Politico report added weight is that US officials were already suspicious of regular Israeli spying. For one thing, the Israelis often seemed to have detailed knowledge of internal and secret US deliberations.

“Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking,” an official said.

“Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X.’”

Attempted blackmail?

As for the “directive” to which Netanyahu referred, that dates back three decades, when Israel was caught red-handed in a massive espionage operation against the United States.

In 1985, US naval intelligence officer Jonathan Pollard was arrested after spending 18 months copying and transferring to Israel the most highly classified American secrets.

Israel then reportedly traded those secrets to the Soviet Union in exchange for Moscow allowing Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Pollard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. To assuage American anger, Israel promised to stop spying on its ally and patron.

The Israelis then spent the next three decades trying to convince the Americans to free Pollard, a move the US intelligence apparatus staunchly opposed because of the enormous damage he had done.

But according to a 2014 book by Daniel Halper, Netanyahu used the fruits of additional espionage in an attempt to blackmail Bill Clinton into freeing Pollard.

The Israeli leader intimated that details of the president’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky could become public.

That not so subtle threat supposedly took place at a 1998 peace process summit at Wye River in Maryland.

“The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations – they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape,” Halper wrote.

“Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away.”

According to Halper, the mere mention that the recordings existed was enough to make a “stricken” Clinton cave in.

It was only the adamant opposition of George Tenet, then the CIA chief, that prevented Clinton from freeing the Israeli spy.

It would be President Barack Obama, ever eager to prove his pro-Israel bona fides, who would free Pollard in 2015.

The Israelis may have multiple motives to spy on Trump, not least to gain insight into American strategic thinking.

But the Israelis may well hope that they might hear material that could be used to embarrass the president – kompromat, if you will.

Surveillance network revealed

We also have other recent evidence of Israeli espionage in the US – albeit ignored by mainstream media and political elites.

Last year, The Electronic Intifada released in full Al Jazeera’s undercover documentary, The Lobby–USA.

Al Jazeera never broadcast the film, after Qatar, which funds the network, came under intense pressure to censor it from the very Israel lobby the film exposes.

It’s no mystery why Israel’s proxies did not want it to ever see the light of day.

The film reveals a network of organizations acting as front groups for the Israeli state’s efforts to spy on, disrupt and sabotage US supporters of Palestinian rights.




I think that media is spinning this as Israel spying only on Trump. These stingray devices were found all over DC, so Israel would have information on anyone, from president to senators and congressmen to judges and bureaucrats to ordinary citizens. They would know who met with whom and who called who. They could then use analytics and build a database of profiles for thousands of people in DC.


No surprise. Paranoia and dirty tricks are the stock in trade of oppressive regimes. It's a simple moral matter. If you're doing something you know is wrong, and the Israelis know what they have done and are doing is wrong, otherwise they wouldn't have to deny it; they wouldn't need to claim that the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was nothing more than an ad hoc transfer of population; they wouldn't need to uphold the laughable claim that Israel is a democracy when a Jewish State and democracy are as incompatible as oil and water; they wouldn't have to argue that criticism of the State of Israel or of Zionism is antisemitic. They know that they are doing is wrong, just as Lady MacBeth knew goading her husband to murder was wrong. This is the core of morality: there are things we covet but we have to respect the rights of others. We are all subject to the coveting but only the evil do what they know to be wrong because they refuse to restrain themselves on the grounds of others' rights. Lady MacBeth was bound to have a tortured conscience. So are the Zionists. A tortured conscience makes you believe everyone is plotting against you, because the normative nature of human morality means people will fight back against the abuse of their rights. Israel has trapped itself in paranoia. The way out is to admit its crimes and to permit the Palestinians to return to their homes, but that is as likely as Lady Mac Beth publicly admitting her guilt. It's simple but appalling. We are moral by nature. It's our biological inheritance. When we try to defy what we are in pursuit of some putative advantage, we end up with the world we've got. Israel is a world eyesore. Does it have the right to exist. As a Jewish State? Why? Would we support a "homeland for the Christian people". The idea is absurd. A one-State, democratic Palestine is what every rational person knows is the answer. Then there would be no need for bugs in the White House.


Becuase they know they could get away with it? Why not?


Israel is well-known by American security agencies for the most aggressive spying that they face.

In the past I've read some almost laughable stories about their activities.

Such as one about an Israeli spy crawling through ductwork in a Washington office building to arrive at a point over someone's desk where he could photograph documents.

So, I think it's extremely likely Israel planted surveillance devices near the White House, as charged.

Denials from that country literally mean nothing.

Netanyahu is a pathological liar. We know that on the highest authority, from an open-mic incident between Presidents Sarkozy and Obama some years back. They agreed you could trust nothing the man said.


Fox News Karl Cameron did a 4 part series on Israeli Spying on the US back in 2000. It was never aired on TV because of AIPAC pressure. But it states that Israel is the most aggressive of all State-sponsored spying in the US... even beyond that of Russia.



Here's a recent dissection of the intricate operations of the much-touted "start-up nation".


The gist is that the intelligence apparatus of the state of Israel has penetrated deeply into the U.S. and other governments through creation of numerous private companies offering to carry out surveillance and other duties. These companies are staffed at the top with Mossad, Shin Bet and military intelligence officials. The methods they're importing to an unresisting national security state in Washington are those Israel uses to enforce its colonial occupation of Palestine. This article is the most complete analysis I've seen of this burgeoning phenomenon. Israel aims to dominate the cyber-security market and the associated government departments in numerous nations. That's how they intend to preserve apartheid- by spreading it abroad.

The article is lengthy, and the reader may find him/herself getting lost in the maze of details, with a plethora of companies, agencies and projects leading in so many directions. But that sense of fatigue and confusion expresses the nature of this hydra-headed menace. It's almost too much to take in.