Report: Israel Spied on Bill Clinton

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Clinton and Barak
Ehud Barak (L) and Bill Clinton meet at the White House, July 19, 1999.Credit: Reuters

In Newsweek's most recent report on Israeli espionage on the United States, the magazine claims that Israel listened in on phone calls between former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other leaders during critical stages of the Middle East peace talks in 1999.

According to the report, which cites British-Israeli political scientist Aharon Bregman's upcoming book "Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories," Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on conversations between Clinton and the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

Citing transcriptions of the phone calls, the book also alleges Israel tapped calls between Assad and Syria's foreign minister in the U.S., as well as discussions between Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Bregman writes that Israel eavesdropped on a conversation between former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Barak's successor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In that conversation, Albright assured Netanyahu that "the U.S. will conduct a thorough consultation process with Israel" regarding any potential agreement with Syria.

According to Bregman, Israel's knowledge of the American and Syrian stance in the ongoing negotiations "gave Israel a huge advantage, allowing them to be ahead of the game in peace negotiations and know what to expect in the actual talks and maneuver accordingly."

The Newsweek reports have claimed that Israel's alleged espionage against the U.S. has continued for decades, despite Israeli and U.S. denial.

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