October 21, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) - As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other U.S. politicians heap praise on Israel, officials say there's another side to America's close relationship with the Israelis.
They say the CIA considers the Israelis its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency's Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East.
CIA officers stationed in Israel report break-ins at their homes and the tampering of sensitive communication equipment. Officials say working in Israel is like operating in Moscow.
Such meddling underscores what's widely known but rarely discussed outside intelligence circles: Despite strong ties between the countries, officials see Israel as a frustrating ally at best and, at times, an adversary looking to steal secrets.
Romney meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in Jerusalem.
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