A new report shows that an Israeli spy hid 16 years ago in an air duct in the hotel room of the vice president of the United States at the time but US officials quickly hushed up the incident after they learned about it.
Newsweek magazine, which published a scathing article about Israel’s espionage activities in the US earlier this week, broke the story in an exclusive report on Thursday. Citing a senior former US intelligence operative, the magazine said the spying incident “crossed the line” of acceptable behavior between the two spying allies.
According to the report, Vice President Al Gore’s security detail had secured his “room in advance and they all left except for one agent, who decided to take a long, slow time on the pot.”
“So the room was all quiet, he was just meditating on his toes, and he hears a noise in the vent. And he sees the vent clips being moved from the inside. And then he sees a guy starting to exit the vent into the room,” Newsweek quoted the former US operative as saying.
But, instead of scrambling for his gun, the Secret Service agent “kind of coughed and the guy went back into the vents.”
The magazine, which called Israel and the US “frenemies” even in the best of times, said US officials quickly hushed up the brazen spying incident “because it was done by Israel.”
The report comes just two days after Newsweek reported that Israel’s current espionage activities in the US are “unrivaled and unseemly.”
Citing US intelligence officials who were briefing members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees behind closed doors on legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israelis, the magazine said Tel Aviv’s espionage activities in the US have “crossed red lines.”
“There are no other countries taking advantage of our security relationship the way the Israelis are for espionage purposes, it is quite shocking. I mean, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that after all the hand-wringing over [Jonathan] Pollard, it’s still going on,” a former congressional aide told Newsweek.
Pollard, a former US naval intelligence analyst, was arrested in 1985 for providing Israel with thousands of classified US documents. In 1987, a US court sentenced him to life in prison. Israel and pro-Israel groups in the US have long lobbied Washington to free him.