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Israeli Official Denies Israel Tried to Gain Secret Technological Information from a U.S. Firm

An Israeli official rejected an allegation that Israel was trying to gain secret technological information from an American company which produces surveillance devices and precision optical lens equipment.

The company, Recon Optical Inc. of Barrington, III., charged in a civil lawsuit in Federal District Court in Manhattan that the Israeli government, which entered into contract with the company regarding the production of aerial reconnaissance cameras for Israel, was trying to gain secret technological information from the company on how to make the equipment.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Asher Naim, said the dispute between the Israeli government and Recon Optical is “only an argument between a supplier and an orderer.” According to the Israeli official, the deal between Israel and the company was in the amount of about $20 million and was made through Israel’s purchasing mission in New York City.

Justice Department and Customs Service officials in Washington confirmed that they were investigating the dispute between Israel and the company. But the officials noted that they had no evidence of any Israeli violation of federal law. “The Israelis had the proper licenses and went through the proper channels in their contract,” a Justice Department official was quoted by the press.

American officials added, however, that they began a preliminary investigation of the dispute because of sensitive Israeli-American relations on security matters. The State Department had no comment Tuesday.