U.S. lawmakers communiques snared in NSA surveillance of Netanyahu

NSA surveillance of Netanyahu intercepts communications of members of Congress.
NSA surveillance of Netanyahu intercepts communications of members of Congress.

Despite promises to curb spying on the leaders of U.S. allies, the White House continued to keep tabs on some heads of state, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the effort yielded information on members of Congress, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The surveillance was conducted as the U.S. hammered out a nuclear arms pact with Iran and Netanyahu's opposition grew increasingly heated. The Journal noted that the National Security Agency's (NSA's) efforts netted private communications between U.S. lawmakers and American Jewish organizations and revealed the efforts of the Israeli prime minister's administration to undermine U.S. talks with Iran, the report cited anonymous former U.S. officials as saying. Israel has said it had gathered information about the dealings by spying only on Iran negotiators.

Sources quoted also said that President Obama privately justified the eavesdropping as a matter of “compelling national security purpose.” 

FreedomWorks Legislative Affairs Manager Josh Withrow took issue with what he called hypocrisy "in the air" as lawmakers complain about the latest spying revelation. “The Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures are not limited to those who hold elected office," Withrow said in comment email to SCMagazine.com. "If lawmakers are so outraged that they have been spied on by the NSA, hopefully they will take action to prevent such spying not only on Congress but on all American citizens.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from Josh Withrow.

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