- WASHINGTON - Some 60 Israelis,
who federal investigators have said are part of a long-running effort to
spy on American government officials, are among the hundreds of foreigners
detained since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Fox News has learned.
- The Israelis, a handful of whom are described as active
Israeli military or intelligence operatives, have been detained on immigration
charges or under the new Patriot Anti-Terrorism Law. Federal investigators
said some of them failed polygraph questions inquiring about alleged surveillance
activities against and in the United States.
- There is no indication the Israelis were involved in
the Sept. 11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they may have gathered
intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it.
- A highly placed investigator told Fox News there are
"tie-ins," but when asked for details flatly refused to describe
them. "Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified, I cannot
tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information,"
the source said.
- An Israeli Embassy spokesman offered categorical denials,
and said any suggestion of Israelis spying on or in the United States is
simply not true.
- But Fox News has learned that one group of Israelis spotted
in North Carolina recently is suspected of keeping an apartment in California
to spy on a group of Arabs who the U.S. authorities are investigating for
links to terrorism.
- Numerous classified documents obtained by Fox News indicate
that even prior to Sept. 11, as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained
or arrested in a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage
by Israelis in the United States.
- Investigators from numerous government agencies are part
of a working group that has been compiling evidence in the case since the
mid-1990s. These documents detail hundreds of incidents in cities and towns
across the country that investigators say quote "may well be an organized
- Investigators are focusing part of their efforts on Israelis
who said they are art students from the University of Jerusalem or Bezalel
Academy and repeatedly made contact with U.S. government personnel by saying
they wanted to sell cheap art or handiwork.
- Documents say they "targeted" and penetrated
military bases, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau
of Investigations, dozens of government facilities and even secret offices
and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.
- Another part of the investigation has resulted in the
detention and arrest of dozens of Israelis working at kiosks in American
malls, where they had been selling toys called "Puzzlecar" and
- Investigators suspected a front. Shortly after the New
York Times and Washington Post reported the detentions of Israelis on immigration
charges last month, the carts began vanishing.
- Why would Israelis spy in and on the United States?
- A General Accounting Office investigation referred to
Israel as Country A and said, "According to a U.S. intelligence agency,
the government of country A conducts the most aggressive espionage operation
against the U.S. of any U.S. ally."
- A Defense Intelligence report said Israel has a "voracious
appetite for information."
- "The Israelis are motivated by strong survival instincts
which dictate every facet of their political and economic policies,"
the DIA report said. "It aggressively collects military and industrial
technology and the U.S. is a high priority target.
- "Israel possesses the resources and technical capability
to achieve its collection objectives," the document concludes.