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Israel Is Spying In And On The U.S.?
Part 4 of a 4 Part Series
FROM FOX NEWS
BRIT HUME, HOST: It has been more than 16 years since a civilian working for the Navy was charged with passing secrets to Israel. Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and is serving a life sentence. At first, Israeli leaders claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but later took responsibility for his work.
Now Fox News has learned some U.S. investigators believe that there are Israelis again very much engaged in spying in and on the U.S., who may have known things they didn't tell us before September 11. Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron has details in the first of a four-part series.
Published: 12/12/01 FOX News. Part 4 of a 4 part
Part 1 -
Part 2- Part 3 -
These items have since been removed from the FOX News web site:
Part 4 of a 4 Part Series: Carl
Part 4 of 4
TONY SNOW, HOST: This week, senior correspondent Carl Cameron has
reported on a longstanding government espionage investigation.
Federal officials this year have arrested or detained nearly 200
Israeli citizens suspected of belonging to an "organized
intelligence-gathering operation." The Bush administration has
deported most of those arrested after Sept. 11, although some are in
custody under the new anti-terrorism law.
Cameron also investigates the possibility that an Israeli firm
generated billing data that could be used for intelligence purpose,
and describes concerns that the federal government's own wiretapping
system may be vulnerable. Tonight, in part four of the series, we'll
learn about the probable roots of the probe: a drug case that went
bad four years ago in L.A.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Los Angeles,
1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigating sours. The
suspects: Israeli organized crime with operations in New York,
Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt. The allegations: cocaine
and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card
and computer fraud.
The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents
obtained by Fox News, the bad guys had the cops beepers, cell
phones, even home phones under surveillance. Some who did get caught
admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid
"This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD
detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working
various aspects of the case. The organization discovered
communications between organized crime intelligence division
detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service."
Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the
CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement
documents, concluded, "The organization has apparent extensive
access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and
When investigators tried to find out where the information might
have come from, they looked at Amdocs, a publicly traded firm based
in Israel. Amdocs generates billing data for virtually every call in
America, and they do credit checks. The company denies any leaks,
but investigators still fear that the firm's data is getting into
the wrong hands.
When investigators checked their own wiretapping system for leaks,
they grew concerned about potential vulnerabilities in the computers
that intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls. A main
contractor is Comverse Infosys, which works closely with the Israeli
government, and under a special grant program, is reimbursed for up
to 50 percent of its research and development costs by Israel's
Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Asked this week about another sprawling investigation and the
detention of 60 Israeli since Sept. 11, the Bush administration
treated the questions like hot potatoes.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would just refer you
to the Department of Justice with that. I'm not familiar with the
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm aware that some Israeli
citizens have been detained. With respect to why they're being
detained and the other aspects of your question whether it's
because they're in intelligence services, or what they were doing
I will defer to the Department of Justice and the FBI to answer
CAMERON: Beyond the 60 apprehended or detained, and many deported
since Sept. 11, another group of 140 Israeli individuals have been
arrested and detained in this year in what government documents
describe as "an organized intelligence gathering operation,"
designed to "penetrate government facilities." Most of those
individuals said they had served in the Israeli military, which is
But they also had, most of them, intelligence expertise, and either
worked for Amdocs or other companies in Israel that specialize in
wiretapping. Earlier this week, the Israeli embassy in Washington
denied any spying against or in the United States Tony.
SNOW: Carl, we've heard the comments from Ari Fleischer and Colin
Powell. What are officials saying behind the scenes?
CAMERON: Well, there's real pandemonium described at the FBI, the
DEA and the INS. A lot of these problems have been well known to
some investigators, many of who have contributed to the reporting on
this story. And what they say is happening is supervisors and
management are now going back and collecting much of the
information, because there's tremendous pressure from the top levels
of all of those agencies to find out exactly what's going on.
At the DEA and the FBI already a variety of administration reviews
are under way, in addition to the investigation of the phenomenon.
They want to find out how it is all this has come out, as well as be
very careful because of the explosive nature and very political
ramifications of the story itself Tony.
SNOW: All right, Carl, thanks.
Copyright: FOX News.
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