Foreign Minister Shimon Peres denied a newspaper report today that the CIA engaged in spy activity against Israel in 1982, and that this prompted Israel to recruit American Jonathan Jay Pollard as a spy.
Peres was referring to a Jerusalem Post account which quoted U.S. Sen. David Durenberger.
The paper quoted the Minnesota Republican as telling a group of American Jews that then-CIA Director William J. Casey "changed the rules of the game" by authorizing spying against Israel during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
"I am not aware of the existence of a spy as reported today," Peres told an Israel Radio reporter in Tel Aviv.
Source Not Identified
The newspaper's correspondent in Washington, Wolf Blitzer, attributed his information to an unidentified source he said was present when Durenberger spoke at the home of Jewish activist Irwin Levy in Palm Beach, Fla., last Sunday.
Pollard, 32, a Jew and former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was sentenced to life in prison this month for selling classified U.S. military information to Israel. The case has strained U.S.-Israeli relations.
Asked about the newspaper report today, Durenberger said at his suburban Washington home, "I did not say we had a spy, but I can't say that we didn't because I don't know if we had a spy."
"We have always had a relationship with the Israelis that we wouldn't spy on them and they wouldn't spy on us," Durenberger said.
He said U.S. senators "were concerned enough about the agreement with the Israelis to ask Bill Casey for oversight of the relationship."
He said the concern was that Casey "would or could have a spy. I couldn't prove that."