White House officials have learned Israel spied on U.S. nuclear talks with Iran but what they’re most angry about is who Israel scared the information with:
The group Obama perceives as his real enemy — the United States Congress.
A report by the Wall Street Journal late Monday (subscription required) revealed that Israel fed the information to members of Congress in hopes that it would motivate them to kill the potential deal.
The Journal said the spying began when the White House entered into talks with Iran last year and cited “current and former” administration officials who said Israel attempted to “penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal.”
According to the Journal, it wasn’t the spying that angered the White House “as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with US lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program.”
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other,” a senior official told the Journal. “It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine US diplomacy.”
For its part, Israel denied the allegations.
“I think the report is wrong, it is inaccurate,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Israel’s Army Radio Tuesday. “The State of Israel obviously has various security interests and we have excellent intelligence services, but we are not engaged in espionage against the United States.”
Still,he didn’t deny Israel had obtained intelligence regarding the talks.
“All the information we gathered was from another entity, not the U.S.,” he said. He added, “We reached a decision a long time ago not to spy on the U.S. and I haven’t come across anyone who has violated that instruction in several decades.”
The question is, what is an American president thinking when he asks his country to trust Iran, but appears to fear Israel and the U.S. Congress knowing what’s going on?
Israel spying on US? why not – #Obama engaged #Iran in talks w/o including country most impacted http://t.co/FLjvycaMDo
— Liz Peek (@lizpeek) March 24, 2015
BHO: Israel spying on my new ally Iran is a disgrace, but sharing the information with US Congress is treason, for which BB must pay.
— Aharon Meytahl (@ameytahl) March 24, 2015
US discovered #Israel spying on US while US was spying on Israel. Wow. http://t.co/RMe2qjXLs4 pic.twitter.com/fjeu65zCqi
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) March 24, 2015
Israel spies on Iran talks, shares what it learns with US lawmakers, 414 of 535 express reservations in writing, and WH is angry at Israel?
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 24, 2015
@davidfrum @NoahCRothman Telling US secrets to the US Congress must be a Logan Act violation? Huh? cc @JohnEkdahl
— ClassicalLiberalMOT (@CygnusA81) March 24, 2015
One possible solution would be for US negotiators to provide info to Congress before Israel does. RE https://t.co/kD85l7kjz5
— Brian Faughnan (@BrianFaughnan) March 24, 2015
Life will never be the same, now that I know that Israel is spying on top Iranians and that the WH is obsessively listening to bb's calls.
— Shimrit Meir (@shimritmeir) March 24, 2015
@lisafleisher @WSJ @adamentous So, wait: by spying on Israel we noticed they were spying on us? And your point?
— hoyt gier (@hoytag) March 24, 2015
How can anyone NOT respect that? Israel doesn't sit around & wait 4 Obama 2 protect it. If spying is what it takes then that's what it takes
— Garmiani (@Sarbarzi) March 24, 2015
Administrations conceal things from Congress all the time of course. They don’t usually act self-righteous when caught.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 24, 2015
Ann Coulter: For Obama, Netanyahu and GOP are the real problem; ‘free unicorns for everyone!’
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