Yet another Obama administration thrust in its campaign to stigmatize Binyamin Netanyahu and the newly elected Israeli government came Tuesday, March 24, in the form of a pejorative leak to The Wall Street Journal.
"Israeli intelligence was eavesdropping on closed-door nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US and other world powers, then passing the classified information along to the US Congress to try and preemptively scuttle the deal, The WSJ reported, adding from its unnamed sources: "It’s one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy.”
Citing the spy-versus-spy rivalry often operating behind the scenes of US-Israel relations, the paper reports that, in fact, the White House discovered Israel had an inside track on the talks by snooping on communications among Israeli officials. "They carried details the US believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks."
"These allegations are utterly false," a senior official in the Israeli Prime Minister's office said. "The state of Israel does not directly conduct espionage against the United States or its other allies."
debkafile’s sources say that the WSJ “allegation” was timed for the trip to Paris by Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz’s and national security adviser Yossie Cohen with a warning to France and later other European leaders that the nuclear deal shaping up between the US and Iran enables Iran to preserve its capabilities and remain a threshold nuclear state.
Monday, they met the senior French negotiator, National SecurityAdviser Jacques Audibert. They were able to hand him information at variance with the data the US had given out including how far the bilateral talks with Iran had progressed.
The Israeli delegation is due in London on the same mission Tuesday.
The WSJ story raises three points.
1. The Obama administration repeatedly promised to keep Israel informed on the content of the Six Power negotiations with Iran led by the United States and make them “transparent.” The WSJ story demonstrates that Washington violated this commitment, by revealing that Israel needed to activate its spies to get at the facts. It is also possible alternatively that the data from the closed door sessions was leaked to Israel by other participants such as Russia, France, Germany or the UK, who too were aghast at the extent of American concessions to Iran for a deal.
2. Did the Obama administration seriously expect Israel to sit back and wait calmly for its diplomats to make concession after concession to the Iranians, knowing that Iran was being allowed to come closer step by step to a nuclear threshold state to the peril of Israel, its Gulf neighbors and Middle East security at large?
3. Why did Israel need to snoop on the talks when Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all of which strongly oppose the deal taking shape, believed they should have been partners to talks that determined their fate, alongside the six external world powers? If Iran objected, the Middle East nations most concerned might have been given a role on the sidelines, instead of being left out of decision-making in the way that the old Colonial powers determined the boundaries of the region among themselves.
In this regard, debkafile notes that the Obama administration continues its vendetta against Binyamin Netanyahu day by day, as though he was not elected in fair and honest elections which permitted every Israeli citizen to make his or her will known through the ballot box. This campaign is strongly echoed by the left-wing camp which lost the election and refuses to accept its outcome, as though nothing has changed.