Israel likely planted StingRays found near the White House and other key locations in Washington to spy on President Trump and his advisers, the U.S. government reportedly determined, though the Trump administration took no apparent action to chastise its ally.
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” a Politico report cited a former senior intelligence official as saying.
But Israeli Embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer dismissed the allegations as “absolute nonsense,” the report noted. “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period,” he said.
Discovery of the devices in 2017 renewed concerns over Trump’s use of an unsecured personal smart phone.
In a 2018 letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs detailed the discovery of “anomalous activity that appeared consistent with IMSI [International Mobile Subscriber Identity] catcher technology within the NCR [National Capitol Region], including locations in proximity to potentially sensitive facilities like the White House” during a limited pilot program conducted by the National Protection and Program Directorate (NPPD). At the time, Krebs, who was serving as the senior director performing the duties of the undersecretary of the NPPD, said the directorate had “neither validated nor attributed such activity to specific entities, devices or purposes” because it lacked the enforcement and counterintelligence authority to do so, but had shared the findings with other relevant federal agencies.
Krebs told Wyden that DHS had received reports about the unauthorized use of StingRays and that “nefarious actors may have exploited” vulnerabilities in SS7 “to target the communications of American citizens.”