Obama sees red after Israel spies on Iran talks, shares info with US Congress

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?


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Carmine Sabia


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