U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he doesn’t believe that Israel is spying on the United States.
“I don’t think the Israelis are spying on us. I really would find that hard to believe,” Trump told reporters outside White House in response to a Politico report, citing three former senior U.S. government officials, that Israel was most likely responsible for planting surveillance devices, known as “StingRays,” found near the White House and other sensitive locations in Washington, D.C.
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.
It was unclear whether the espionage effort had succeeded, according to the officials.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday denied the report.
“There is a longstanding commitment and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S.,” said Netanyahu’s office in a statement. “This directive is strictly enforced without exception.”