Report: NSA spied on Netanyahu during Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran nuclear deal

Wall Street Journal reports White House instructed NSA to spy on PM communications with aides, American Jewish groups and US lawmakers

Obama and Netanyahu 2014 (AFP)

Obama and Netanyahu 2014 (AFP)

The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House instructed the NSA to spy on Prime Minister Netanyahu before and during Israeli lobbying efforts against the nuclear deal made between world powers and Iran.

According to the report, the NSA monitored Netanyahu’s communications with his aides and with U.S. lawmakers and American Jewish groups. The report also claims that the White House gave the NSA total authority on what information to share as to “not leave a paper trail.”

According the Wall Street Journal “Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.”

The report claims US officials as sources who confirmed that the Prime Minister’s office “repeatedly attempted to learn details about changes in U.S. positions during the sensitive nuclear talks”.

The spying initially was to determine whether Israel would attack Iran “without warning the United States”, the report claiming that in 2013 US intelligence agencies “determined Mr. Netanyahu wasn’t going to strike Iran. But they had another reason to keep watch. The White House wanted to know if Israel had learned of the secret negotiations. U.S. officials feared Iran would bolt the talks and pursue an atomic bomb if news leaked.”

There were several reports during negotiations between world powers and Iran that Israeli intelligence was collected information on the progress and details of the negotiations, Israel refusing to acknowledge or respond to such reports.