How US Jewish groups got spied on by Obama

At first blush, it appears like a bombshell: The United States listened in on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s phone calls.


But on closer examination, the revelations reported Dec. 29 by The Wall Street Journal might not be so far reaching. Spying on allies is both routine and legal in the United States, though perhaps not very politic.


Here’s what the controversy is all about and what may happen next.


What exactly did the Obama administration do?


According to the Journal, the National Security Agency eavesdropped on Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, in part to assess whether Israel planned to strike Iran and to track the prime minister’s efforts to scuttle the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. In the process, conversations between Israelis and American lawmakers and Jewish organizations were swept up by NSA surveillance. The Obama administration did not directly order those conversations be monitored, but neither did it prevent the listening-in.


“We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’” a senior US official told the Journal. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’”


Read More: How US Jewish groups got spied on by Obama – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post