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Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House

Former U.S. government officials claim Israel was likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices, also known colloquially as “StingRays” near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington in order to spy on President Donald Trump, his top aides, and close associates.

“There were suspicions that they were listening in,” a former official said, based on his Israeli counterparts flaunting a level of detailed knowledge “that was hard to explain otherwise.”

“Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X,” said the former official.

The devices mimic cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information, with the potential to capture the contents of the call. StingRays, formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers, are often used by local police agencies to conduct surveillance against criminals and can cost more than $150,000 each.

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