Boehner ‘baffled’ by Israeli spying report
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday he was “shocked” and “baffled” by reports the Israeli government had spied on sensitive U.S.-Iran nuclear talks and passed information to members of Congress to whip up opposition to a potential deal.
The report in The Wall Street Journal comes amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Israel, and just weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech to Congress — at Boehner’s invitation — warning against an emerging deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Before the speech, the Speaker privately huddled with Netanyahu in the Capitol, but Boehner said Israeli officials had not shared intelligence about the Iran talks with him.
“I read that story this morning, and frankly, I was a bit shocked,” Boehner told reporters. “There was no information revealed to me whatsoever.”
Asked to clarify his reaction to the story, Boehner replied: “I’m shocked by the fact that there were reports in this press article that information was being passed on by the Israelis to members of Congress. I’m not aware of that at all.
“I’m baffled by it,” he added.
The spying on the closed-door nuclear negotiations didn’t anger the White House as much as revelations that Israel was sharing the information with U.S. lawmakers in an effort to derail the agreement, according to the Journal.
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other,” a senior U.S. official told the newspaper. “It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy.”
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