WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) — U.S. supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress were recorded on FBI wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, a blogger reported.
In an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, Richard Silverstein provided a motive for the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the prosecution in a Maryland federal court of Shamai Leibowitz.
Leibowitz, an FBI translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last year for leaking classified information to Silverstein, who writes a blog called Tikum Olam, named after a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world.”
In his first interview about the case, Silverstein said he received some 200 pages of verbatim records of telephone calls and what seemed to be Israeli Embassy conversations.
In one of the conversations, Israeli officials discussed their concern that they were being monitored.
The U.S. government routinely eavesdrops on some embassies inside the United States but intelligence collection against allies, especially one as close as Israel, is a delicate matter.
Silverstein said Leibowitz gave him the documents because of concern about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran.