Israel possible culprit in EU spy scandal

Jan. 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM
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BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A Belgian intelligence committee's best guess is that Israel was behind an old European Union bugging scandal, a member of the panel said Tuesday.

Peter de Smet of Belgium's Standing Intelligence Agencies Review Committee told EUobserver.com that while "there is no hard evidence" the Israeli spy agency Mossad carried out the eavesdropping operation, two people suspected of planting listening devices in the EU member states' headquarters in the mid-1990s had been trained by Comverse. The Israeli telecommunications company allegedly has ties to Mossad.

De Smet said there were only a handful of countries that possessed the "really state-of-the-art listening equipment placed in the Justus Lipsius building in 1993 or 1994.

"It could be Israel, it could be Russia, it could be England or it could be the U.S. -- there you have really the four countries possible, but it will never blow up who did these things," de Smet said. "It will remain a game inside the intelligence services."

The listening devices were discovered by technicians at the Justus Lipsius building in February and March 2003 in sections used by British, French, German and Spanish diplomats, the European Web site said.

At the time the European Union's internal security branch asked Belgian secret services to set up a sting on the spies involved, but the plans were revealed by the French daily Le Figaro, EUobserver.com said.

Officials completed the 2003 report last year and it was published on the committee's Web site in Dutch and French on Tuesday afternoon.

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