Oopsy! How embarrassing, to be caught attacking the president while you do your job for Israel:
U.S. spying programs scooped up communications between members of Congress and Israeli leaders, giving the White House insight into Israel’s lobbying of U.S. lawmakers against the Iran nuclear deal, current and former U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.
The article, published Tuesday afternoon, reports that the U.S. continued to spy on select leaders of allied nations despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to curb such surveillance two years ago, and that it was a top priority to maintain spying on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.
As part of that continued surveillance, the National Security Agency also swept up communication showing Israeli officials trying to turn lawmakers against the international deal that curbed Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the article said.
One senior U.S. official described the discovery of the swept-up communication as an “Oh s— moment” and feared that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.
According to the report, Obama administration officials thought the information it uncovered could potentially counteract Netanyahu’s crusade to stop the nuclear deal. But rather than make a formal request to the NSA for the back-and-forth, an official said, the White House opted to allow the NSA to decide on its own — without leaving a paper trail by submitting a formal request.
“We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’” a senior U.S. official told the newspaper. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’”
The report said the NSA removed the names of the lawmakers and personal information, as well as “trash talk” about the White House.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/spying-israel-congress-netanyahu-217207#ixzz3vlRKeU8a