Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jun 30, 2017.
maybe he'll try to have Erik Prince, and Prince + Steven feinberg will replace the military lol
John Bolton is a fucking dangerous nutbag. I'd be happy about this except yeah, we haven't seen who he'll be replaced with.
TRUMP COULD FACE 'UNPLEASANT' JAIL TIME IN NEW YORK, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY SAYS AFTER COHEN INTERVIEWED FOR PROBE
Ex-U.S. attorney Joyce Vance told MSNBC on Wednesday that President Donald Trump could be facing an "unpleasant" jail sentence after reports indicated that his former personal attorney Michael Cohen is cooperating with the New York district attorney's office as part of its probe into the Trump Organization.
Prosecutors with the New York district attorney's office recently interviewed Cohen for their investigation into the Trump Organization's handling of hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, sources familiar with the probe told CNN. The interview reportedly took place at Otisville federal prison, where Cohen is currently being held on a three-year sentence after pleading guilty last year to various crimes including campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud.
NBC News also cited an anonymous source in reporting that Cohen struck an agreement with the prosecutors to "provide information about the president's business operation." NBC's source also confirmed that a meeting took place between Cohen and officials from the DA's office at Otisville prison last month.
During a segment on MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews and Vance discussed the potential consequences of Cohen's cooperation for the president.
"Let's talk about Cohen's cooperation here," Matthews said. "He has a point of view, it's fair to say, about Trump and what he thinks of Trump and what they did together. Sneaky, dirty, et cetera, et cetera."
Matthews then asked if there was a "criminal violation by the president in regards to how he paid off Stormy Daniels?"
"What prosecutors seem to be focusing on is the idea that there would have been false business records that would have been submitted," Vance explained. "Normally that's a misdemeanor. But if you submit false business records in an effort to conceal another crime — here, presumably a federal crime involving campaign finance fraud — then it becomes a felony and you're really in hot water."
"What we're hearing in this testimony is that there's an effort to convert the [hush money payment] into legal fees and that is likely how Trump's organization reported it in business records, as legal fees," she added.
Wallace then noted that this "could be a big case, if you're taking the President of the United States down into a criminal matter," before asking Vance what the potential penalties are for Trump.
"That really depends on how it's ultimately structured," Vance responded. "If they were able to make some sort of a tax charge here, which we don't know — we don't know if they have tax records — we could be looking at a lengthy violation for a felony. It's certainly not a misdemeanor."
"The felony crime is a serious one, it carries a lot of collateral consequences," said Vance. "But most significantly is the threat there is jail time involved, and any amount of jail time in the state system in New York would be very unpleasant for the president of the United States."
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has accidentally revealed the whereabouts of a future "urban warfare" training facility that is expected to include "hyper-realistic" simulations of homes, hotels and commercial buildings in Chicago and Arizona.
On Tuesday, ICE published an acquisition form for the procurement of "hyper-realistic training devices" for a new training facility for its expanding Special Response Team (SRT) program on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The immigration agency had sought to redact the location of the new training facility, but failed to do so properly. The agency, which has made this kind of mistake previously, appears to have a systemic information-security problem.
In this case, Newsweek was able to simply copy and paste the document's contents into a word processor and quickly establish that the facility would be built at the Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs' (OFTP) Tactical Operations Complex (TOC) at Fort Benning, Georgia, a U.S. Army post used to prepare soldiers for combat.
In addition to revealing Fort Benning as the location of the training site, ICE also failed to properly redact information indicating that the Army post would be getting an expansion, with up to 50 buildings expected to be added to the site.
"A Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) vehicle will be competed among GSA Federal Supply Schedule holders for additional training buildings and interior/exterior outfitting in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 20," ICE states in a portion it did not attempt to redact from the document.
In a following partially redacted line, it states: "OFTP plans to expand the Training Site at Ft. Benning to include up to 50 additional buildings and add additional U.S. city layouts and designs."
Throughout the document, areas that were meant to be withheld were not redacted properly, including signature lines at the bottom of the document. Instead of names, these would-be redacted lines contain what appears to be placeholders, such as "ijunynyhhjhjhjjjjjjj," "hnjumgfrdddfffffff" and "BHMKKOOOOOO."
ICE's new training facility is expected to include,"at a minimum," a "multitude of basic, intermediate and hyper-realistic training devices, a tactical training warehouse, classroom facilities and vehicle assault training area."
Among those training devices will be a "hyper-realistic props/design" that simulates "residential houses, apartments, hotels, government facilities and commercial buildings," along with other training configurations.
ICE is specifically interested in acquiring a "Chicago" style replica, as well as an "Arizona" style replica, with the agency expecting to dedicate a total estimated value of $961,347.75 to the effort.
Hyper-realism, the agency states, is "a critical component to this acquisition as the details provide essential information that must be acknowledged, processed and acted upon to minimize risk to our Special Agents, Deportation Officers and SRT operators during high-risk search and arrest warrants, fugitive operations, undercover operations, hostage rescue, gang operations, etc."
"For example, details like the number of dishes left on the table, toys in the yard, lighting, furniture, etc. all provide clues that allow our agents and officers to infer vital information that directly affects their safety and the potential resolution or outcome in the scenario," it continues. "Learning to process this information quickly to identify whether there are children present, or how many people are currently in the structure is a necessary skill developed in training."
The agency goes on to detail how a Defense Science Board task force "found that the probability of being a causualty (sic) decreases significantly after the first few 'decisive combats'," it adds. "These hyper-realistic devices will allow the teams to have those experiences in real-world conditions without the real-world casualties."
According to the document, ICE is working to continue expanding its Special Response Teams stationed throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
New ICE employees had already been expected to receive training at the Maneuver Center of Excellence in Fort Benning, where ICE's Office of Training and Tactical Programs (OTTP) Firearms and Tactics Division "makes its home," according to a May 2017 news release published on ICE's website.
Explaining "what takes place" at Benning, ICE Division Chief Bert Medina said in a statement included in the release that ICE trains "experienced law enforcement personnel in the use of force and existing weapons in application of force."
"In addition, we provide law enforcement instructors [with] the skills and abilities to teach use of force and defensive techniques with and without weapons so they can prepare ICE officers on the front lines of federal law enforcement to perform their duties safely and in accordance with standards," Medina said.
Newsweek has contacted ICE for comment for this article and for more information on plans for the training facility.
This is not the first incident in which ICE has failed to properly redact a document. Just last month, the agency accidentally revealed the value of a renewed contract with software company Palantir.
As Mother Jones reported on August 20, ICE accidentally exposed that the agreement could be worth some $49 million over a three-year period.
The National Security Agency (NSA) provides a guide on how to properly redact PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Professional X.
"Redaction of information from documents is an ongoing challenge," the NSA states in its guide, adding that it has "released several papers on the topic of redaction and the removal of hidden data in Microsoft Word and PDF files."
This is a work of art
Pentagon eyeing 'Harley riding, tequila-drinking Navy SEAL' to oversee special operations
September 10, 2019
The Trump administration is considering bringing in a self-described "Harley riding, tequila-drinking Navy SEAL" to lead the Department of Defense's special operations as the military continues to address recent problems within the SEAL community.
Lou Bremer is under consideration to be the next assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, according to Politico. The position would make him the top civilian leader overseeing units like the Army Special Forces, Marine Raiders, the Navy SEALs, and Delta Force.
Bremer once described himself on his Instagram profile, which is now private, as a "Harley riding, tequila-drinking Navy SEAL and White House fellow who buys companies on occasion. For God and country." Following his eight-year stint in the SEALs, Bremer was a homeland security aide during the George W. Bush administration and is now a private equity investor with Cerberus Capital Management. Stephen Feinberg, the company's billionaire founder, is head of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
Owen West, a former Marine and banker who is the son of military author Bing West, resigned from the assistant secretary role in June after about a year and a half on the job, citing family reasons.
Should Bremer take the position, he will be responsible for addressing a series of scandals that have rocked the special operations community, in addition to reorienting the elite units from a counterterrorism mission toward competition with adversaries China and Russia.
The SEALs have been embroiled in recent scandals. Members of SEAL Team 7 were sent home from Iraq over the summer following allegations of sexual assault against one member and drinking throughout the platoon. Rear Adm. Collin Green, who oversees the SEAL community, removed the team's three senior leaders earlier last week.
Team 7 was under the spotlight during the trial of Eddie Gallagher, a senior enlisted SEAL who was accused of war crimes. While Gallagher was found not guilty of all but one relatively minor charge, his unit was discovered to have taken pictures with the corpse of a dead Islamic State fighter and to have engaged in rampant partying while on deployment to Iraq in 2017.
SEAL Team 10 has also come under scrutiny following revelations that members used cocaine while stationed in Virginia. Some admitted to cheating drug tests, while others said they rarely got tested at all.
Green responded to these problems by sending a letter to SEAL leadership, telling them: "I don't know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately," Green wrote.
that's only a company i've been talking about for over a decade here
Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House
The likely Israeli spying efforts were uncovered during the Trump presidency, several former top U.S. officials said.
The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.
The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.
The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.
Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cellphone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cellphone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cellphone hardened against intrusion.)
By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top Department of Homeland Security official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.
That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI’s counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the CIA (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation).
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” said a former senior intelligence official.
An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”
A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn’t “comment on matters related to security or intelligence.” The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn’t respond to requests for comment.
After this story was published, Trump told reporters that he would find it "hard to believe" that the Israelis had placed the devices.
"I don't think the Israelis were spying on us," Trump said. "My relationship with Israel has been great...Anything is possible but I don't believe it."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also denied after publication that Israel was behind the devices. "We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies," he said in a gaggle with reporters. "And it's vigorously implemented, without any exception. It [the report] is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication."
But former officials with deep experience dealing with intelligence matters scoff at the Israeli claim — a pro forma denial Israeli officials are also known to make in private to skeptical U.S. counterparts.
One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government.
“The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration,” this person said. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions.
“I’m not aware of any accountability at all,” the former official said.
Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.
“The people in that circle are heavily targeted,” the former Trump official said.
Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump’s friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people “would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon,” the former official added.
That’s true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States.
“The Israelis are pretty aggressive” in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. “They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective.”
So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.
While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.
“You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who’s been accessing them to pull the data off the devices,” another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.
Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability — or the budget — to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.
IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corp., the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News.
“The costs involved are really significant,” according to a former senior Trump administration official. “This is not an easy or ubiquitous practice.”
Among professionals, the Israeli intelligence services have an especially fearsome reputation. But they do sometimes make mistakes and are “not 10 feet tall like you see in the movies,” a former senior intelligence official noted.
In 2010, the secret covers of a Mossad hit team, some of whom had been posing as tennis players, were blown after almost 30 minutes of surveillance video was posted online of them going through a luxury Dubai hotel where they killed a top Hamas terrorist in his room.
Still, U.S. officials sometimes have been taken aback by Israel’s brazen spying. One former U.S. government official recalled his frequent concern that Israel knew about internal U.S. policy deliberations that were meant to be kept private.
“There were suspicions that they were listening in,” the former official said, based on his Israeli counterparts flaunting a level of detailed knowledge “that was hard to explain otherwise.”
“Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking. Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X,’” said the former official.
Back when the Obama administration was trying to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, for example, the Israelis were eager to get advance knowledge of the language being debated that would describe the terms of reference of the talks.
“They would have had interest in what language [President Barack] Obama or [Secretary of State John] Kerry or someone else was going to use and might indeed try to find a way to lobby for language they liked or against language that they didn’t like and so having knowledge of that could be advantageous for them,” the former official said.
“The Israelis are aggressive intelligence collectors, but they have sworn off spying on the U.S. at various points and it’s not surprising that such efforts continue,” said Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator of counterterrorism at the Obama State Department and now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth.
Benjamin, who emphasized that he was not aware of the FBI's investigation into the cell-phone spoofing, recalled once meeting with a former head of Mossad, the premier Israeli intelligence agency, when he was out of office. The first thing the former Mossad official told Benjamin was that Israel didn’t spy on the U.S.
“I just told him our conversation was over if he had such a low estimate of my intelligence,” Benjamin said.
Israeli officials often note in conversations with their American counterparts — correctly — that the U.S. regularly gathers intelligence on Israeli leaders.
As for Israel’s recent surveillance of the White House, one of the former senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged it raised security concerns but joked, “On the other hand, guess what we do in Tel Aviv?"
Israel Reportedly Planted Mysterious Spy Devices Near White House; Netanyahu: Total Lie
According to former top U.S. officials who spoke to Politico, the cellphone surveillance devices were uncovered during the Trump presidency and meant to track him ■ Trump denies Israeli spying on U.S.
Sep 13, 2019
Israel has likely planted surveillance devices that have been located near the White House over the past two years, Politico reported on Thursday based on accounts provided by three former U.S. officials.
According to the report, the cellphone surveillance devices were likely intended to spy on U.S. President Donald Trump. “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” a former senior intelligence official was quoted as saying.
After the report was published, Trump said that he did not believe that Israel is spying on the United States.
A spokesperson for Israel's Embassy in Washington, Elad Strohmayer, was quoted in the report as saying that “these allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”
Upon arrival to Sochi, where he is slated to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Netanyahu also denied the report. "We have a directive, I have a directive, no intelligence work in the United States, no spies. And it's vigorously implemented, without any exception. It [the report] is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication," he said.
The spying devices that have been uncovered according to the report are known as "StingRays" and emulate normal cell towers to trick cellular devices into giving them their locations and identity details. They are also known as mobile subscriber identity catchers, or IMSI-catchers.
Netanyahu's bureau released a statement echoing his comments upon arrival in Russia. "A blatant lie. There is a longstanding commitment and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S. This directive is strictly enforced without exception."
According to the report, the White House refused to comment. “I’m not aware of any accountability at all,” one former official told Politico, noting: “The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration… With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
However, an ex-official told Politico that as opposed to other incidents of foreign spying on U.S. soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government or took any official steps against it.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security both declined to comment on Politico's report.
Around October 2018, officials at the DHS had discovered evidence of the surveillance devices near the White House as well as several other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., the report said. They then shared the findings with relevant federal agencies.
The FBI, along with other agencies probing the case, pointed the blame at Israel after conducting a detailed forensic analysis, the officials told Politico.
The report cited former officials and individuals that worked with previous administrations as saying that there prevails a common concern that Israel is spying on the White House.
“Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking. Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X,’” the former official was quoted as saying.
“The Israelis are pretty aggressive," the former intel official officer told the website. “They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to achieve that objective.”
US concluded Israel likely planted surveillance devices near White House: report
Israeli intelligence agents were likely behind the placement of surveillance devices near the White House, U.S. intelligence has reportedly concluded.
Politico reported Thursday that U.S. investigators had determined that Israel was most likely the culprit responsible for placing StingRay phone trackers near the White House, with the apparent purpose of capturing information from phones used by President Trump or top White House aides.
Three former top U.S. officials told the news outlet that Israel was suspected.
A spokesman for Israel's embassy in the U.S. called the allegations leveled by U.S. officials "nonsense," and disputed the idea that Israel carries out surveillance operations in the U.S.
“These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period," Elad Strohmayer told Politico.
An analysis from the FBI and other agencies concluded that Israel was the culprit, according to the Politico report.
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” one official told Politico.
Whether the Trump administration will publicly take action or reprimand Israel for the intrusion is another matter, and is so far unclear. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on the issue Thursday.
“The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration,” another official added to Politico. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
Trump has forged close ties with Israel's right-leaning leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, and has hosted the Israeli prime minister at the White House as recently as March.
Israel accused of planting spying devices near White House
Surveillance devices planted over past two years, says report citing former US officials
12 Sep 2019
Israel is likely to have planted mobile phone spying devices near the White House and other sensitive locations in the US capital over the past two years, according to a report from Politico that cited three former US officials.
The miniature surveillance devices mimic telecommunications towers to gather information, including the contents of phone calls. The US government concluded Israeli operatives were most likely to have put them in place to spy on Donald Trump and his associates, the news website reported.
The office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the accusations as a “blatant lie”, saying the country had a longstanding commitment “not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US”.
In the article, one of the three former intelligence and national security officials, none of whom were identified, said the Trump administration – which describes itself as the most pro-Israel US government in history – did not rebuke its ally.
“The reaction … was very different than it would have been in the last [Obama] administration,” one former senior intelligence official was quoted as saying. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
The Guardian was unable to immediately verify the report, which has emerged as Netanyahu fights for political survival before elections next week.
It said the FBI and other agencies used detailed forensic analysis of the devices, known as StingRays, to link them to Israeli agents. “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” a former senior intelligence official was quoted as saying.
The Israeli embassy spokesman in Washington, Elad Strohmayer, further denied the accusations, saying: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.” The White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the US Secret Service did not comment, Politico said.
Netanyahu was in Sochi on Thursday for talks with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, which have been interpreted in Israel as a last-minute attempt to win over Russian-speaking Israeli voters.
The prime minister has launched an aggressive campaign to woo the minority of 1 million people, running ads in Russian and erecting a giant poster of him and Putin on his Likud party’s Tel Aviv headquarters.
Netanyahu has also been shoring up nationalist voters with fiery language and hardline promises.
On Tuesday, he announced that he would annex up to one-third of the occupied West Bank if he won re-election, drawing condemnation from the Palestinians, Arab countries, the UN and the EU.
On Thursday, Facebook said it had imposed sanctions on Netanyahu’s page because of a violation of the company’s hate speech policy. It said it had suspended the page’s bot – or automated chat function – for 24 hours.
Netanyahu’s page had called on voters to prevent the establishment of a government composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all – women, children and men”, causing uproar from opposition politicians. Netanyahu denied writing the post, blaming a staffer.
If the White House isn’t a criminal it has nothing to worry about
Netanyahu, Trump deny report of Israeli spying near White House
September 12, 2019
Washington (AFP) - President Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday denied a media report that Israel spied on cell phones in the vicinity of the White House -- and President Donald Trump said he believed him.
Speaking on a trip to Russia, Netanyahu said there was no eavesdropping on cell phones around the US presidency because he had forbidden spying against the United States.
"I have a directive: no intelligence connection in the United States, no spying," he said. "It's rigorously enforced without any exception. It's a complete fabrication."
Online news outlet Politico reported that US officials believe Israelis were most likely to be behind several so-called stingray scanners, which mimic cell phone towers to intercept nearby calls and text messages, that were discovered in downtown Washington in 2017.
Several former national security officials told Politico that forensic analysis on the devices by the FBI and other agencies tied them to Israeli agents.
"The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it's not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful," Politico wrote.
Trump, who calls himself the most pro-Israel president in US history, told reporters at the White House that he doesn't believe the allegations.
"I don't think the Israelis were spying on us. I would find that hard to believe," he said.
Earlier, Israel's foreign and intelligence minister, Israel Katz, said the country "does not conduct any espionage missions in the United States."
"The United States and Israel share between them a great deal of intelligence information and work together to prevent threats and to strengthen the security of the two states," he said.
Stingrays are formally known as international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) catchers, devices able to monitor and track cellular device communications as they interact with networks.
They are increasingly used by police in criminal investigations to intercept cell phone activity by suspects, and have become a focus of controversy for their use without warrants.
Two years ago an unknown number of the devices were discovered inside Washington during a Department of Homeland Security test project investigating the risk posed by the devices.
Their discovery included "locations in proximity to potentially sensitive facilities like the White House," DHS said in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden in May 2018.
But those responsible for putting them in place were never identified.
They could have been potentially useful at the time in monitoring Trump, who was known to use an unsecured cell phone for phone calls and text messages.
let's just tie these together
Separate names with a comma.