"The Israelis are pretty aggressive" when it comes to espionage, including against the United States. "They're all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to achieve that objective," according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official.[232] In May 2014, a National Security Agency document obtained by Snowden and published by journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed the CIA was concerned that Israel had set up an extensive spying network in the United States. Defense secretaries from both countries denied the claim with Chuck Hagel saying he had no facts to substantiate the report, while Moshe Ya'alon said he was never allowed to spy on the United States while he was head of the Israeli intelligence services, "and as defense minister I don't allow spying on the United States whatsoever."[233]

After a careful study over a two-year period ending in September 2019, the United States intelligence community and FBI concluded that it "was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible" for cellphone surveillance devices near the White House and other sensitive Washington, D.C.-area locations, according to several former senior U.S. officials.[234][232] The Israeli agents placed Stingray phone trackers (international mobile subscriber identity-catcher--IMSI-catchers), miniature surveillance devices, that act like ordinary cellphone towers, fooling cellphones in the area into providing their identity and location data and capturing the contents of telephone calls and other data, according to several former senior U.S. officials. The devices were configured to gather information on the American president and his top aides (including Rudy Giuliani), an operation made easier by President Trump's failure to observe White House telecommunications security protocols. Publicly unknown is whether or to what extent Israel succeeded in gathering such information. In response, Israeli officials categorically strongly denied the allegation that Israel conducts espionage against the United States. President Trump stated he finds the story "hard to believe." However, U.S. officials with extensive intelligence experience derided the perfunctory Israeli denials.[232]


Was an Israeli spy ever arrested and sentenced to jail by the U.S.? Looking at this Wikipedia article, we would think it never really happened. I remember that some Israeli were arrested during 9/11, but they were never sentenced to jail and they were released not long after, and I believe that the U.S. government never officially acknowledged that they were spies. Was an Israeli spy ever arrested and sentenced to jail by the U.S. according to the public domain?

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    It is highly unlikely that a spy would be sent to jail. Jails are for defendants not yet convicted of a crime awaiting trial, and sentences less than one year. They almost certainly would be sent to (federal) prison. Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


There were several in the more distant past.

He was apprehended in 1985, and in subsequent proceedings agreed to a plea deal, pleaded guilty to spying for and providing top-secret classified information to Israel. [...]

[...] Noting that Pollard had violated multiple conditions of the plea agreement, [the judge] imposed a life sentence on the basis of a classified damage-assessment memorandum submitted by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

[...] Anne Pollard was sentenced to five years, but was paroled after three and a half years due to health problems.

He pleaded guilty in December 2008 to being an "unregistered agent for Israel," and admitted to disclosing classified U.S. documents to Israel in the 1980s.

Kadish was not given prison time due to his old age and cooperation. (He died in 2012.) Pollard was eventually released too in 2015.

I don't claim that this list is complete.

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    I remember the Pollard case. I'm glad you remembered or found the name. I never heard of the other case. Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 8:42

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