Senior White House officials say Israel spied on U.S. talks with other world powers to put a lid on Iran's nuclear program, The Wall Street Journal
The newspaper reported that the administration was less upset about the spying than the fact that closely guarded information was shared with U.S. lawmakers and others in Israel's effort to undermine the talks and preclude a deal, the paper says.
"It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy," said one senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.
Netanyahu's office denied the claims. "These allegations are utterly false," a senior official in Netanyahu's office told the Journal. "The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies."
Besides eavesdropping, Israel obtained information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials told the Journal.
U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel discovered the operation when they intercepted communications among Israeli officials. These communications carried details the Americans believed could only have come from access to the confidential talks, officials said, according to the Journal.
Outgoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed the report.
"This report is not true. Obviously Israel has security interests to defend and we have our own intelligence. But we do not spy on the United States. There are enough participants in these negotiations, including Iranians," he said in Israel.
"We got our intelligence from other sources, not from the United States. The instruction has been clear for decades now: you don't spy on the United States, directly or indirectly."
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