The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the United States is conducting major spy operations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That includes all of his transmitted communications even though he had been promised that such operations geared toward this county’s allies would be “curtailed.”
The culprit in this illicit activity is the National Security Agency. They have accumulated information that shows Israeli officials trying to turn lawmakers against the international deal that curbed Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the Journal said. One White House senior official actually described the NSA’s “discovery” as a shocking revelation. The White House now fears Congress will think they are spying on them.
Naturally President Obama denies the ‘behind-closed-doors’ allegations. The scenario of spying was described as the administration giving a green light to the operation by doing nothing more. The NSA’s mission was “to give us an accurate illustrative picture of what the Israelis were doing,” a senior U.S. official told the Journal.
White House officials hoped the monitoring of Netanyahu would provide information that would counteract his crusade to stop the Iran nuclear deal. To remain aloof from the surveillance, they opted to allow the NSA to do the dirty work while avoiding any paper trail leading to the Oval Office. As one unnamed administration official told the Journal, “We didn’t say, ‘Do it. We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’”
Nevertheless, the president insisted that the NSA keep tabs on Netanyahu as it was a “compelling national security purpose.” Earlier this month Obama spoke about certain exceptions (spying) on selected leaders but didn’t name any specific individuals.
Two years ago, intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the vast extent of the National Security Agency’s online surveillance. At the time, President Obama promised to limit spying on US allies. That was quickly dispelled after it was revealed the offices of German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been tapped. Other allies expressed private concerns about the breadth of NSA monitoring.
Concerning the intelligence gathering on the Israeli Prime Minister, Washington (the Obama White House) was concerned Israel was actually monitoring (spying) the US negotiations with Iran during their nuclear talks. As Mike Rogers, former Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told the Wall Street Journal, “Intelligence professionals have a saying: There are no friendly intelligence services.”