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Former Fbi Agent Said He Tapped Israel Embassy Phones but Learned Nothing of Interest

January 14, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An Israel Embassy spokesman said today that he preferred not to comment on a disclosure by a former FBI agent that part of his activities included monitoring phone calls of the Embassy during the Six-Day War. The former agent, Robert N. Wall, disclosed that he was told by the FBI to study Hebrew because “the Israelis were trying to get American atomic secrets for their destination projects.”

The revelation is contained in an article by Wall to appear in the Jan. 37 issue of The New York Review of Books. According to The New York Times reporter Robert M. Smith who interviewed Wall at his home in Buffalo, N.Y. and reported his interview in today’s Times, this disclosure and other revelations by Wall were corroborated by independent sources.

Among the disclosures by Wall, who quit the FBI in 1970, was information about how that agency tried to sow dissension in allegedly extremist right-wing and left-wing groups through planted informants and how the Internal Revenue Service collected information on alleged extremist groups through a secret special unit. The Israeli Embassy was not mentioned in connection with the IRS work.

According to Smith “a reliable source” in Washington “said that the American intelligence community did feel the Israelis wanted atomic information but he said he did not know why.” Wall said he was trained to listen in on the telephone calls of the Israeli Embassy, a fact confirmed by outside sources who said the FBI also tapped Arab Embassy phones. Wall said in the Times interview that during the Six-Day War the FBI was short-handed and he was pressed into service at a switchboard set up to monitor all the calls being made to and from the Israeli Embassy. He said he had not overheard any interesting conversations.

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