TEL AVIV Ñ The FBI is investigating Israelis in New York suspected of conducting inustrial espionage, according to officals with Israel's defense ministry.
The FBI has refused to say whether it was investigating any Israelis.
Israeli officials said diplomats and defense representatives were being
urged to exercise caution in dealing with their U.S. counterparts, Middle East Newsline reported. They said
the defense representatives were ordered to be less aggressive in seeking
details of U.S. military platforms and systems.
Officials said the FBI has been investigating Israeli behavior. They
said the FBI suspects that Israeli representatives, particularly those from
the Defense Ministry legation in New York, were involved in industrial
The Defense Ministry said most of the allegations were based on a
misunderstanding of Israeli culture. The ministry said in all of the cases,
Israeli representatives were seeking details of unclassified material.
"For the past three years, the MoD has been engaged in a comprehensive
training program aimed at training Israeli officials and industry members in
the American way of thinking, in order to prevent misunderstandings that
stem from different cultures and codes of behavior," a ministry statement
said. "Accordingly, numerous briefings have taken place in the ministry, at
army bases and in the industries in order to clarify the rules of 'do' and
Israel has issued new regulations for its representatives
in the United States in an effort to avoid complaints of industrial
The regulations were issued in response to complaints from the U.S.
government that Israeli officials were engaged in industrial espionage. The
complaints cited the behavior by Israeli representatives during recent U.S.
military tours and defense exhibitions.
The latest seminar was held the Defense Ministry's mission in New York
in November. Ministry spokeswoman Rachel Neidek-Ashkenazi said Israeli
officials sought details of what the United States termed "unclassified
"From our perspective, unclassified is unclassified, and this type of
information is open to everybody," Ms. Neidek-Ashkenazi said. "It is
permitted to ask questions regarding this information. But with the
Americans, there is another level of information that is unclassified but
under control and if [an Israeli] continues to ask questions [pertaining to
this category], he may be perceived of having crossed the line."
So far, officials said, the U.S. government has not relayed formal
charges of industrial espionage against any Israeli. The FBI has refused to
say whether it was investigating any Israelis.
Officials have acknowledged that Israeli representatives routinely
attend U.S. defense exhibitions and seek information of displayed platforms.
They said Israeli representatives are also often invited to tours by the
U.S. military or Pentagon.