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May 12, 2014 3:11 pm

King David Hotel Manager Dismisses Newsweek Spying Report – Air Conditioner Vent Too Small for ‘Even a Cat’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Email a copy of "King David Hotel Manager Dismisses Newsweek Spying Report – Air Conditioner Vent Too Small for ‘Even a Cat’" to a friend

U.S Vice President Al Gore with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, May 1, 1998. Photo: Screenshot / Pool Footage.

U.S Vice President Al Gore with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, May 1, 1998. Photo: Screenshot / Pool Footage.

The manager of the King David Hotel, in Jerusalem, said a report by  Newsweek’s Jeff Stein, that an Israeli spy was caught in an air conditioner duct while spying on then U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 1998, was “ridiculous,” as the air duct is actually “so small that even a cat cannot walk in it.”

Speaking to The Algemeiner, Dror Danino-Forsyth, the hotel’s manager, said, unlike in big U.S. hotels, the air conditioning system in most Israeli hotels, including Jerusalem’s King David, is a set of small vents that heat or cool air in the rooms, rather than being pumped in through a large duct that a man could crawl through, as described in the Newsweek report.

“I can confirm that the story is ridiculous,” Danino-Forsyth said. “There is a small pipe that brings some fresh air into the room, and it is so small that even a cat cannot walk in it.”

Danino-Forsyth said Gore stayed at the five-star King David during his 1998 trip and U.S. pool transcripts and footage show Gore meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the hotel’s lobby on May 1, 1998.

The architectural inconsistency would invalidate the anecdote relayed by Stein from an unnamed U.S. Secret Service agent.

Stein wrote:

According to a senior former U.S. intelligence operative, a Secret Service agent who was enjoying a moment of solitude in Gore’s bathroom before the Veep arrived heard a metallic scraping sound. ‘The Secret Service had secured [Gore’s] room in advance and they all left except for one agent, who decided to take a long, slow time on the pot,’ the operative recalled for Newsweek. ‘So the room was all quiet, he was just meditating on his toes, and he hears a noise in the vent. And he sees the vent clips being moved from the inside. And then he sees a guy starting to exit the vent into the room.’

Did the agent scramble for his gun? No, the former operative said with a chuckle. ‘He kind of coughed and the guy went back into the vents.’

The Newsweek article tried to use the anecdote to describe systematic spying by Israel on U.S. politicians, an act that was vehemently denied by Jerusalem last week. The article followed up an earlier piece by Stein, quoting largely unnamed intelligence officers, making those same allegations, which Stein tried to tie to possible political reticence over approving Israel’s application to become one of 28 countries with an expedited visa agreement for its citizens to enter the U.S.

One of the original article’s few named sources was retired CIA officer Paul Pillar, whose impartiality was questioned because of his unabashed (and unmentioned) support for the recent American Studies Association boycott of Israeli universities, a move that has been condemned by some 200 university presidents.

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  • Lynne T

    Paul Pillar is a piece of work who is frequently published by, if not a publisher of “the National Interest” and contributes whitewashes of Iran and stuff like that. He is a big fan of Stephen Walt.

    And naturally, clueless wonders like Doug Saunders at the Globe & Mail quotes Pillar along with Peter Beinart on the subject of the “Cold Warriors” who are clamouring for a response to Putin’s interference with Ukraine.

  • Mike P

    Stern and Enderling guilty of unprofessional journalism. Newsweek is guilty of failing to fact-check its stories. Both are guilty of libel against Mossad.

    The Mossad should sue Stern, Enderling and Newsweek for libel.

  • Otto Schiff

    Schon zweimal abgeschnitten und immer noch zu kurz

    “Already cut twice and still too short”

  • E benAbuya

    It must have been M’Blah Blah’s Mossad cat

  • HaroldT

    It is past time that Israel cancel the credentials of “reporters” like Stein and Enderling.

  • Bernard Ross

    Newsweek is a bankrupt whore of Obama who was given an exclusive as a lifeline. Stein is simply a whore.

    • BethesdaDog

      Don’t forget, Newsweek has passed through three or four different owners in just a few years. It was sold by the Washington Post to Jane Harman’s late husband, then I think maybe Tina Brown owned the name for a while. Then anther company, now finally some company whose name is totally unfamiliar. I’ve noticed a tendency for hack journalists, of which there is a huge surplus in D.C., to bounce from job to job. I think many have a problem earning a living. Some have figured out they have to establish a “niche” and a marketing gimmick, hence, this guy is the “spy” journalist for the latest iteration of Newsweek. When you need a story, try to gin one up out of half-baked facts and rumor, even if a great deal of it can’t be verified and confirmed by independent sources. Who’s going to know that an Israeli mouse, posing as a Mossad agent, didn’t come dropping out of the vent? How do you disprove that? So, you just say it. Of course, you have a drunk Secret Service agent–everyone knows that Secret Service agents have a penchant for getting drunk on foreign assignments and visiting prostitutes–claiming that he saw a Mossad agent dropping down from a hole in the ceiling and then hightail it back up when the Secret Service agent made some noise. How do you disprove that? How do you disprove what never happened? I saw a picture of this guy Stein, and thought he was going to be one of these 20-somethings who was raised in the stew of leftwing parents and then leftwing professors, who know nothing of journalistic ethics and integrity, and just make stuff up to suit their political biases. That is getting to be the case in mainstream journalism these days. People who call themselves journalists have no scruples at all about saying anything despite the fact there is not the slightest bit of fact to support it. The most glaring example is the assertion by Juliet Eilperin and some other guy from the Washington Post which was simply a made-up story out of whole cloth about the Koch brothers and the Keystone XL pipeline. They showed no remorse for their journalistic fabrications, and continue to pump out daily drivel and propaganda without the slightest hint of journalistic conscience or integrity. The same, apparently, with this guy Stein, except he doesn’t look so young. He is somewhat wrinkled like a middle -aged guy, and apparently is desperately trying to do whatever he can to hold onto a job. He does it by making up stories that nobody can ever disprove. He got the story from another secret service operative (who Stein will never identify), and we certainly don’t know the name of the Mossad mouse, because as well all know, the Mossad never identifies its mice, birds, dolphins or people. (I just realize the advantage of utilizing the first three categories-you don’t really have to get a false passport for them).

      Well, here it is, Newsweek trying to climb back up to viability, after its death a few years ago, by fabricating stories about the world’s favorite scapegoats: the Jews. Nice job, guys! I hope you sink for good his time. At least when it had Evan Thomas and John Meacham, it had some respectable thinkers (and probably ethical journalists) even if I didn’t agree with much of what they wrote. Now it’s just hacks. Maybe Stein is trying to become the next Seymour Hersh.

    • Dear Mr Ross

      Why INSULT whores?
      At least they do an HONEST service. Theirs is a barter deal: Sex for Money

      The authors are DESPICABLE Pathological Liars and perverters of Facts & Reality

      Whores have MORE Honour and Decency than these Mongrels calling themselves reporters

      After all, Newsweek is going DOWNHILL because it NEVER tells the TRUTH

      IQ al Rassooli
      Kafir & Proud!

  • Bernard Ross

    Obama is the source of this planned, intentional, traditional, historical, anti semitic libel.

    • Sonia Willats

      This is really the issue, and should be taken up at the highest diplomatic levels. I urge pro-Israel senators and congressmen to ROOT OUT AND EXPOSE THE SOURCE of this blatant, cheap, anti-Israel propoganda. It is time to stop the “New.speak” Newsweek from being the mouthpiece of a far more sinister undercurrent in American politics.

  • Dov

    How true, to push this aside as a joke would be a big mistake. Now that the manager exposed the size of the vents, there should be an uproar that Stein and Company must be condemned in the harshest and most serious terms, dismissed from their position and never again allowed to pollute any and all media whether print or electronic.

    The African Americans knew how to make an uproar when Sterling said something foolish, well Stein is as stupid as Sterling. Lets stand up as one and get this guy thrown out. Stein labels himself as a spy writer, I guess he has been making these stories up for years…

    • Mordecai Ben Natan

      Stein has been reading too many spy story books.
      I hope he is never allowed into Israel, just like Tutu is not allowed in

      Both are disgusting liars.

      Tutu is a sick man who has to have his photo in every newspaper.

  • Mel

    Lefty “reporters” like these, with IQ’s so low they need to look up to look down, do make a case against circumcision: Too much brain damage!

  • Phil

    It just never ends. The anti-Semites in the CIA and the State department just are not satisfied with 6,000,000 dead Jews so they have to tell up stories that make Israel look bad. In fact, it is not only our public servants who are disgraceful liars. The media is full of writers and commentators that are unethical and incompetent as well as malicious towards their hated enemies. In the case of the Newsweek story, the reporter and editors who compiled the story are either incompetent or outright liars. First, Israel has developed terrific spying electronics. For an experience newsman to believe a ridiculous story about an Israeli spy having to crawl in an air duct is so ridiculous and obviously a lie, other motives have to be attributed for repeating such an obvious falsehood. Second, why didn’t the reporter check the King David and investigate if the story about the spy in the air vent was physically possible. Third, Pillar, his main source was obviously not an objective source. Yet, Newsweek, a historically anti-Israel magazine saw fit to print a story that was obviously false. I’m surprised that this rag doesn’t publish Mein Kampf or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    • Mordecai Ben Natan

      These guys have been watching far too many movies where they see ple in aircon ducts.

      But remember. What sells newspspers? HATE ISRAEL STORIES.

      The bigger the lie, the more newspapers will be sold.
      Lets not forget about NYT.

      If they would print the truth, than it would not be sensational. So, why should people read true stories?

  • Martin Bookspan

    Let’s not joke about this obviously damnable transgression of journalistic honor. Stein and Company must be condemned in the harshest and most serious terms, dismissed from his/their positions and never again allowed to pollute any and all media whether print or electronic.

  • zadimel

    Let us not be so quick to dismiss the spy allegation regarding the small size of the intelligence agent.

    While the duct system might be very small, the US spy could have been a person of extremely small stature or a secretly trained mouse to which was attached a tiny camera.

    On the other hand, Paul Pillar could have exaggerated the story of spying, distorted the facts, or simply lied. His support of the ASA boycott of Israeli universities, as mentioned in the article, could prejudice his view of the truth.

    • BethesdaDog

      Now, the secret is out. As a person with good connections to Israeli intelligence circles, I can now confirm that the Israelis have developed a super-secret breed of highly intelligent and trainable mice, capable of performing all the activities normally conducted by humans.

      Such mice are able to climb their way through the narrowest of vent systems, understand Hebrew and English (there’s a supersecret Animal Ulpan where mice and the various breeds of spy birds are trained intensively in Hebrew, Aramaic, ancient Aramaic and Arabic–why Aramaic? It was hoped that they might disrupt the set of Mel Gibson’s movie, but they were not yet trained to run up the robes and dresses of the actors and actresses), and can shoot micro-Uzis, not to mention their ability to sabotage glue and cheese traps.

      I suggest that the only thing inaccurate about Stein’s story is the assertion that the U.S. Secret Service Agent actually saw a man starting to descend from an open vent. It was no doubt a mouse, that the Secret Service agent mistook for a man (Israeli spy mice dress just like regular Mossad, wearing tennis outfits when in Dubai or whatever is appropriate for the operation.)

      The Secret Service agent might have been drunk after a night of drinking and visiting Israeli prostitutes (who could have been undercover mice) and made a mistake, or, unlikely as it is, Mr. Stein, the Newsweek author, got it wrong. That, we know, is very, very unlikely.

      • zadimel

        Oh – No! I am shocked,shocked! You have given away too much – the tennis outfits and tennis shoes from MIMIC(MiniMouseInC).And the spybirds oh my!The Secret Service can trace the movements of these Intel mice back to the polka dot house on the hill in the Israeli town of — I can’t say it.

        • Sonia Willats

          Well said, Zadimel and Bethezadog 🙂

    • Mordecai Ben Natan

      Lets not forget that Israel trained a shark to kill tourists in the Red Sea.
      Then we have the story of Israel breeding rats bigger than cats.

      What next you big piece of shit, Paul Pillar. A real pillar of lies.

  • Jerry Hecht

    This just goes to show that both Stein and Pillar are both pinheads because that is the only head that could fit in the vent.

  • The only sort of spy I know is me. I collect public information put it together and it becomes intel. Which I share with America and Israel contacts, free of charge. Just because the Americans don’t read or think it is not my fault.

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