Israel denies allegations of spying on US

Israel denies allegations of spying on US

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel denies allegations of spying on US

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has denied the spying charges. AFP Photo

Israel's foreign minister on Wednesday denied allegations that his country was engaged in spying activities on US soil, following a report published in Newsweek.        

In the article, anonymous US officials said Israel had gone too far in its attempts to secure industrial and technical intelligence from its number-one ally, and had "crossed red lines."       

"No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do," said a former congressional staffer who attended a classified briefing in late 2013, according to Newsweek.
But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied the charges.
"We categorically reject such an accusation," he told army radio.
"We're talking about lies and falsehood, simply libel which is baseless and unfounded," Lieberman said, describing the remarks as "malicious."       

"I am sorry that there are apparently anonymous elements in the United States who are simply trying to maliciously spread false accusations," he said.
The minister said Israel had "learned its lesson" from the case of Jonathan Pollard, a US naval analyst who was arrested in Washington in 1985 and sentenced to life in jail for spying on the United States for Israel.        

Lieberman said Israel was not involved in any form of espionage against the United States, direct or indirect.
He also denied allegations in the Newsweek story that the alleged spying was connected to Israel's so-far futile attempts to join the US visa waiver programme.        

Born into a Jewish family from Texas, Pollard passed to Israel thousands of secret documents about US spy activities in the Arab world over a period of 18 months. He won Israeli citizenship in 1995 and was officially recognised as an Israeli spy three years later.
His arrest sparked a crisis in ties that only ended with Israel promising to end all espionage activities on US soil.