Netanyahu denies report that Israel snooped on White House

US President Donald Trump may have been the target of an alleged Israeli operation to monitor cellphones near the White House according to a report by Politico

The devices "mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information", it says, adding that "they also can capture the contents of calls and data use".

Israel is days away from a general election, with Mr Netanyahu fighting to hold on to his office.

"A blatant lie. There is a longstanding commitment and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US.

Absolutely false. I checked", the senior US official was quoted as saying by Noga Tarnopolsky, a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

On Thursday, Netanyahu headed to Sochi, Russia, to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

While the agency itself has not called Iran's cooperation inadequate, Israel has accused Tehran of operating secret nuclear facilities in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, while he United States has said there are "questions about possible undeclared nuclear activities".

Israel, on Thursday, denied that it planted spy devices near the White House.

US intelligence officials would not confirm that Israel was suspected of placing the devices in Washington, but one current senior national security official told CBS News' Olivia Gazis, "if that's all there is, it's not as bad as it could be - but don't assume that's it".

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One of the officials says President Trump himself was a likely target, though it's unclear whether the spy mission was successful before being uncovered at some point over the last two years.

"The U.S. and Israel share a lot of intelligence information and work together to prevent threats and strengthen the security of both countries", he said.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, wrote on Twitter that the report was "fake news with a spice of anti-Semitism".

"I have a directive: no intelligence connection in the United States, no spying", he said. "I find that hard to believe".

The report quoted three unnamed former senior U.S. officials "with knowledge of the matter". "This is pure nonsense, Israel learned its lesson the hard way with Pollard, and made a clear decision never to risk the relationship so severely again".

The U.S. and Israel are extremely close allies, and that relationship has grown closer since President Trump took office.

Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was arrested on November 21, 1985 and sentenced two years later to life imprisonment for handing over a large amount of classified U.S. government information to Israel.

In 2006, former US Department of Defense employee Lawrence Franklin received a 13-year prison sentence for passing classified documents on US policy towards Iran to Israel.

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