Jerusalem: Dismissing claims that Israel`s "aggressive espionage operations" against the US "have gone too far", a top Israeli official has said "someone" was trying to cast aspersions on and compromise cooperation between the two close allies.
"It seems that someone is trying to sabotage the very good intelligence cooperation between Israel and the US. Not once in any meeting we have had with our US counterparts, did we hear any complaints about Israeli spies, only complements on our outstanding cooperation," Yuval Steinitz, Minister for Strategic and Intelligence Affairs, told Channel 10.
The Israeli minister will next week meet with Dianne Feinstein, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Intelligence, to discuss the damning reports published by Newsweek. According to the reports, US intelligence officials feel Israel`s spying operations against America "had crossed all red lines".
Former Israeli Military Intelligence (MI) chief Amos Yadlin also rubbished the allegations, calling them "absolutely baseless" and "strange".
"Let me be clear," Yadlin said in an interview on Channel 2 yesterday, "Israel is unequivocally not spying in the US."
Israel`s internal security agency Shin Bet`s former chief Carmi Gillon also dismissed the allegations in an interview to Channel 10, saying that the idea was "utterly improbable".
While "Israel has made many mistakes in its relationship with the United States, I`m sure the lessons from the Pollard affair have been well learned," he said.
Pollard, an American Jew and a naval analyst, was arrested in Washington in 1985 and sentenced to life in jail for stealing state secrets and passing on to Israel.
An opinion piece in Israel`s largest circulated daily Yediot Ahronoth today said that "Newsweek`s articles only point out hypocrisy and ignorance in a US intelligence community that harbours a vindictive attitude towards Israel".
A Newsweek article written by Jeff Stein earlier this week described a scene that could have easily belonged to a spy movie: An Israeli spy hiding in the air duct in Al Gore`s bathroom in 1998.