White House should expect backlash for NSA spying on US, Israeli officials

President Barack Obama will likely face a strong response from members of the US Congress whose communications with Israeli officials were reportedly tapped during the Iranian nuclear negotiations, leaders of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) swept up US lawmakers’ conversations while eavesdropping on Israeli officials. The White House reportedly amped up surveillance on Israel during the Iran nuclear negotiations, in light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strong opposition to the nuclear deal.

“I would assume there would be blowback too because a lot of congressmen, apparently their conversations were tapped by the administration,” EMET Legislative Director Adam Turner told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Turner compared the NSA incident to the Watergate scandal, when President Richard Nixon hired former US intelligence officials to wiretap the political headquarters of his Democratic opponent in the 1972 election. The scandal led to Nixon’s impeachment and resignation from office.

“This is really is Watergate-like, it is sort of scary,” Turner added.

EMET President Sarah Stern also compared the NSA surveillance to the Watergate scandal, saying the Obama administration can “definitely” anticipate retaliation from members of Congress.

“He [Obama] has totally undermined the Constitution of the United States of America by doing this. This is really morally outrageous,” Stern told Sputnik.

Members of the Obama administration raised concerns the NSA eavesdropping on senior Israeli officials’ calls with US lawmakers could result in accusations that the White House had spied on Congress, according to The Wall Street Journal report.

In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information that the Obama administration had spied on friendly foreign governments. Following Snowden’s revelations, Obama announced a revised policy that would omit friendly governments from US espionage.

EMET is a pro-Israel, Zionist non-profit group based in Washington, DC focused on US policy in the Middle East.
By Sputnik News