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Hagel denies he knew Israel was spying on Americans

The US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, denied on Thursday having any knowledge that Israel was spying on the United States, as recently suggested in an explosive report by Newsweek magazine.

At a press conference held in Tel Aviv, Hagel was asked about the Newsweek report, which quoted anonymous US officials as saying that Israel has been conducting wide scale espionage operations against US companies and citizens. According to Reuters news agency, the US Secretary of Defence replied, "I have heard of that report. I'm not aware of any facts that would substantiate the report."

Israeli officials have also denied the spying allegations. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, described the report as a "malicious calumny".

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