Report: US was spying on Benjamin Netanyahu during Iran deal negotiations

The US National Security Agency’s foreign eavesdropping included phone conversations between top Israeli officials and US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing current and former US officials.


White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign against the nuclear deal with Iran, according to the unnamed officials, the Journal said.


NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the US-Iran negotiations, which they learned through Israeli spying operations, the newspaper reported.


The NSA reports allowed Obama administration officials to peer inside Israeli efforts to turn Congress against the deal, according to the Journal.


Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, was described as coaching unnamed Jewish-American groups on lines of argument to use with US lawmakers, and Israeli officials were reported pressing lawmakers to oppose the deal, the newspaper said.


Asked for comment on the Journal report, a White House National Security Council spokesman said: “We do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.” Following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures of the agency’s spying operations, President Barack Obama announced in January 2014 the United States would curb its eavesdropping of friendly world leaders.


Read More: Report: US was spying on Benjamin Netanyahu during Iran deal negotiations – Israel News – Jerusalem Post