Fox News: Obama Admin Spying on Netanyahu, Members of Congress Was ‘Win at All Costs Strategy’
MCKELWAY: "Good evening from Washington. I’m Doug McLelway in for Brett Baier. With friends like these, who needs enemies? An already-frosty relationship between President Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be further strained after a report alleges the White House knowingly accepted surveillance gleaned from private conversations between the Israeli leader, his aides and members of Congress here in the United States. Ahead of the landmark nuclear deal with Iraq. Correspondent Kevin Corke reports from Hawaii."
CORKE (voice-over): "Just how far would the white House go to secure votes for the Iran nuclear deal? According to a report in the “Wall Street journal,” far enough to use NSA-collected intelligence on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In which it learned how some congressional lawmakers were leaning ahead of the crucial vote on Capitol Hill. Caught up in the massive sweep, the private conversations of Senate and house members. A strategic and intelligence treasure trove for the white House desperate to see the deal through."
FLEITZ: "This is a very serious abuse of power. We have the executive branch using the power of a U.S. Intelligence agency to listen in on the private conversations of members of Congress."
CORKE (voice-over): "The paper says in conducting its operation, the national security agency listened in on Netanyahu. His aides and some Jewish American groups. In the lead-up up to the vote on the deal. Which would pave the way for sanctions relief in exchange for severe restrictions on the regime’s nuclear activities. The allegation comes almost two years after President Obama announced that his administration would curtail eavesdropping on friendly heads of state. After the world became aware of the reach of U.S. Secret surveillance programs, following the Edward Snowden leaks. Sources familiar with the NSA intercepts in question say the White House learned that the Israelis leaked details of the nuclear deal and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes. Critics call it a win at all costs strategy."
POLLAK: "Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers referred to the Iran deal as Obamacare for the second term of the White House. They wanted to let nothing stand in the way of achieving that goal."
CORKE (voice-over): "The national security Council’s Matt price said we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens, and world leaders alike. While a spokeswoman for speaker Paul Ryan added we have seen the report and are looking into the matter."
FLEITZ: "This is a question of ethics. When the White House was receiving NSA reports with the private conversations of members of Congress, they had a responsibility to not read that material and return it."
CORKE (voice-over): "This amid new tensions with the regime. Including a rocket launch near a military vessel and missile tests conducted in October that prompted 36 U.S. Senators to write a president asking that sanctions not be lifted."
CORKE: "The Treasury Department notified Congress of 11 new sanctions on individuals and entities accused of helping the Iranian regime. Treasury foreign assets control office essentially said this these individuals were providing material goods for Iran’s ballistic missile program. Doug?"
MCKELWAY: "Kevin Corke from Honolulu, thank you."