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FBI 'recorded' chats at US Israel embassy

    Shamai Leibowitz
    Shamai Leibowitz

    The FBI has been accused of secretly recording discussions at the Israeli embassy in the US.

    According to a blogger, who spoke to the New York Times, a translator for the intelligence agency shared transcripts of recorded conversations and telephone calls with him.

    Richard Silverstein, whose blog specialises in the Middle East, said he was given 200 pages of notes by FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz.

    In one recorded conversation, an embassy official is said to have expressed concern that staff were under surveillance.

    Leibowitz is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence for leaking classified information, although the FBI has so far refused to disclose what the documents contained.

    Mr Silverstein said Leibowitz leaked the transcripts from the embassy because he was concerned about Israel's influence on US policy and the possibility of a US attack on Iran.

    He said he had burned the transcripts when he first received them, but wanted to make the wiretapping public now to show that Leibowitz's actions were those of "an American patriot and a whistle-blower".

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