“Donald Trump has had a closer relationship with Israeli leaders than any president in American history. I think he genuinely doesn’t care that the Israelis spy on the United States. I think he doesn’t see the harm in this and does not feel threatened by it.” — CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou
The culprit behind a massive spying scandal in the U.S. capital has been exposed. A slew of surveillance devices found around the District of Columbia over the years was the work of Israeli spies. But it’s unlikely that the U.S. will take any action.
Three former U.S. officials have informed Politico that the devices — International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, or “Stingrays” — that were discovered near the White House, Senate and other sensitive locations belonged to the Israeli government.
Typically used by police, Stingrays, a dragnet as opposed to a targeted surveillance device, work like miniature cell phone towers. When one is set up, it sucks in all cell phone communications within a specific radius, intercepting them before they make it to the tower to be transmitted to the intended recipient. The metadata sent — including texts and other private information — by everyone within the radius is then viewable by whoever is controlling the Stingray.
Freddie Martinez, executive director of the Lucy Parsons Labs, an organization that has fought successfully for government disclosure on the use of Stingrays, told MintPress News:
These devices are an extremely low cost way to discover who a person or group of people are and track their movements in real time. As the price of technology drops, the risk of intelligence and corporate espionage only increases. In an extreme example, you [could use a Stingray] to find out everyone who routinely goes to an embassy and try to learn about their patterns of life… Generally, they are used to track the real-time location of people or hunt down a person based on an identifier like their phone numbers.
They [Stingrays] can function because of technical exploits in cellphone networks and it is up to international bodies to “fix” the problem. Given the billions of phones already in the world and how complex their capabilities’ range — from older models of 10 years ago to newer 5G devices — there doesn’t seem to be any appetite to take on such a huge technical problem.”
John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who blew the whistle on the agency’s torture program, told MintPress that the Israelis have a reputation for harebrained or otherwise brazen operations.
The Israelis are indeed notorious in the intelligence community for taking risks that other intelligence services would never even consider. The Israelis are also famous for their ‘us against the world’ mentality. Federal law enforcement officers have told me that the Israelis have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of intelligence agents at work across the United States, without the permission or consent of the U.S. government, stealing American secrets at every opportunity and working to infiltrate the policy community, think tanks, government, and defense contractors.”…