Israel and at least one other intelligence agency spied on US Secretary of State John Kerry during peace talks with Palestinians and Arab states last year, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports.
The magazine cited “several sources from intelligence circles” as saying that although Kerry has a secure phone at his mansion in Georgetown, while he was traveling and needed to make a quick phone call, he sometimes used an ordinary telephone that the intelligence agencies listened in on.
“A large number of these conversations, which went via satellite, were listened to by at least two intelligence agencies, including the Israelis,” Spiegel reported, according to Reuters. “It is probable that the Russians and Chinese were also listening in.”
This meant that Israel often knew precisely what Kerry was talking about during his phone conversations with parties involved in the peace talks.
Kerry, the magazine said, was aware of the risks but he wanted results and personal conversations were more important to him than concerns from his security advisers.
If confirmed, the report will further sour the diplomat’s relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and raise fresh questions about the vulnerability of phone communications to eavesdropping, the Guardian said.
There was no immediate reaction from Jerusalem or Washington.
Kerry’s efforts to broker a peace deal lasted nine months, but to no avail as Netanyahu and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, accused each other of bad faith, the Guardian said.
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