JERUSALEM, May 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that he could not validate a recent media report of alleged Israeli spying in his country.
"I have heard of that report. I'm not aware of any facts that would substantiate the report," Hagel said at a news conference in Tel Aviv with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Moshe Ya' alon.
A Newsweek story published last week quoted unnamed American officials as saying that Israel was engaged in large-scale espionage operations in the United States.
Ya'alon said that in his former capacity as head of Israeli military intelligence he was prohibited from spying against the United States, nor does he allow it in his current post.
Hagel arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks on strategic and regional security issues, including Iran's nuclear program and the ongoing crisis in Syria, as well as future U.S. military aid to Israel. The three-day visit will cap a regional tour that began with visits to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Hagel is scheduled to hold meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres over the weekend.