The U.S. government has often denounced countries that have been found to have spied on the United States. While Israel has always denied spying on the United States, it has been repeatedly found to have done so including the case of Jonathan Pollard. After the release of Pollard, Israeli officials again reassured Americans that it did not engage in spying on the United States. However, a new report states that Israel planted cell-phone surveillance devices near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C. However, the Trump Administration buried the story and made no public disclosure. President Trump has said that he simply cannot believe that Israel would ever spy on the United States and that he assumes that the devices were planted by another country. In the meantime, the United States recently gave billions more to Israel in aid and took the controversial step of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in a showing of solidarity. Israel denies that it placed the surveillance devices in the locations.
The miniature surveillance devices known as “StingRays,” effectively trick cell phones in revealing confidential information. The belief is that Israel was spying on President Trump and his top aides. Trump has been criticized for being lax on White House security protocols.
Members of Congress seem to be largely avoiding the story for the same reason as the White House, particularly as the Congress continued to give massive aid to Israel. Since Israel obviously knows that the devices were found, the burying of the story is curious. The White House and key members of Congress were informed but not the public.