Hagel says is not aware of Israel spying on U.S

TEL AVIV Thu May 15, 2014 9:30am EDT

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference after attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting at the Conference Palace in Jeddah May 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference after attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting at the Conference Palace in Jeddah May 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mandel Ngan/Pool

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TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said on Thursday he was unaware of any truth to a media report that Israel has been spying on the United States.

Asked during a press conference in Tel Aviv about a Newsweek magazine story quoting unnamed U.S. officials as saying Israel was conducting major spying operations against the United States, Hagel said: "I have heard of that report. I'm not aware of any facts that would substantiate the report."

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who responded to the espionage question in English, said: "As former head of (Israeli military) intelligence, I wasn't allowed to spy in the United States whatsoever. And as defense minister I don't allow to spy in the United States whatsoever."

Israeli officials had reacted furiously to the Newsweek story, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman calling it a "malicious calumny".

Yaalon, who has this year criticized U.S. foreign policymaking, and Hagel both affirmed the strong bond between Israel and the United States, and Hagel noted the record levels of U.S. aid to Israel.

The U.S. defense chief is on a three-day visit to Israel, where he was due to discuss a host of issues, from Iran to Syria to the failed Palestinian peace process.

(Reporting by Dan Williams and Missy Ryan, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch and Crispian Balmer)

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Comments (4)
mountainrose wrote:
If you were aware of it they wouldn’t be very good spies

May 15, 2014 9:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Agence21 wrote:
End all US aid to Israel. This relationship does nothing but damage the US. Israeli values, fascist ideology and actions against the Palestinians contradict the very core of US values and basic principles of human and civil rights.

May 15, 2014 9:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rybo1 wrote:
While, it’s common knowledge that Israeli Jews have been spying on the United States for decades, here we have Chucky, assumed to be one of the most informed, highly ranked, henchmen of the Obama regime, purposely burying his head in the sand. After he yanks his head out of the sand, he assertively says, “Me know nutink!”

May 15, 2014 10:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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