According to the U.S. government, Israel was most likely responsible for the planting of surveillance devices found near the White House and other sensitive locations in Washington, D.C., Politico reported on Wednesday.
Three former senior U.S. government officials told Politico that the devices known as “StingRays” were planted during the tenure of U.S. President Donald Trump, and were likely used to spy on him and other senior U.S. officials. It was unclear, the officials said, whether the espionage effort had succeeded.
The Trump administration did not take action against the Israeli government following the discovery of the devices, said one of the former officials.
According to the report, the miniature surveillance devices mimic cell-phone towers and can intercept location and identity data, as well as the contents of calls and messages.
The FBI and other U.S. agencies investigating the matter felt confident Israeli agents had placed the devices, said the former senior officials. Suspicion fell on Israel, they said, in part because not many other countries have the capability or budget to develop and deploy such devices.
An Israeli embassy spokesperson denied the report, saying, “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”