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American Politics: NSA’s Spying on Israel has Come in from the Cold Again! And,There's Going to be Hell To Pay! [274*3]

Updated on February 8, 2016



Spying On The Friendlies

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL RAN ITS LATEST REPORT regarding the NSA’s monitoring of world leaders. This is in spite of President Obama’s prima facie promise not to do this. This time, however, it has the potential of becoming a tsunami which might engulf the White House, Congress, or both!!

Why both? Because not only was NSA outed again for spying on a world leader, it was leaded they were spying on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; but he was caught lobbying (bribing?) individual Congressmen!!! The fallout of this scandal is going to reach into all levels of the American and Israeli governments as well as put international relations in a tizzy.

The basic story goes like this. After Snowden’s revelation that the NSA was surveilling many friendly leaders, President Obama promised to “curb” this practice; notice that “to curb” is not “to stop” and that distinction was made clear by Obama although I doubt anybody in the news media or the Right noticed. Who was, however, on the protected list and who was not has been kept secret. Clearly, Mr. Netanyahu was not exempted from being spied upon. My guess is the NSA had good reason to keep up the stake-out because Netanyahu was actively trying to sabotage the Iran Nuclear negotiations. Also of interest is that none of the leaders staff was exempted, regardless of which list their principal fell on.

Did He Attempt to Bribe U.S. Lawmakers?


A Scandal For All Seasons

As I mentioned, Obama’s semantic nuance is not going to protect him from a savage beating by the Right because the surface facts of this case are red meat to Conservatives and they will make the most of it … Maybe. Then again, maybe not since Congress itself appears to have dirty hands in this mess as well; in fact they may be so dirty as to minimize what might happen to President Obama. Also, not getting off Scott-free are Netanyahu and his staff; as we said in Vietnam, he may be in some deep … Kimchi.

To muddy things further, the WSJ insinuates that the White House, “in order to not leave a paper trail”, left the decision of who to surveil as well as information should be reported back to the White House and Congress; as best as I can tell, that is standard practice. Part of NSA’s goal in deciding what to reveal and what not to is whether any Americans who happen to be swept up in the spy effort should be revealed outside of NSA. The standard practice is not to unless there is specific national security reasons to do so. The reader should also know this kind of spying has been going on for decades by all parties who have the technology to do it.

You can read the Wall Street Journal article following the provided link. It goes into much more history of who was doing what to whom and why; it makes very interesting reading. But that is not what this Hub is about; this Hub is concerned with the fall-out from the WSJ’s revelation.

Will The NSA Revelations Lead to a Change in Congress?

U.S. CAPITOL | Source

How Many Laws Were Broken and By Whom

As I see it, there are at least three sources of embarrassment that will result from the investigations into this leaked information … serious embarrassment … consequential embarrassment. One is obvious – there is now yet another scandal for the Obama executive branch, and in the middle of an election year. The other two are not so clear; but possibly more devastating to America and Israel.

Included in the WSJ article are these two budding bombshells:

  1. The Israelis asked undecided [American] lawmakers what it would take to win their votes
  2. Israel’s pitch to undecided lawmakers often included such questions as: “How can we get your vote? What’s it going to take?”

How are the GOP investigators going to handle the important questions which flow from these revelations; let alone how is Israel going to defend bribing American lawmakers? Those are huge moral, ethical, and legal questions which could have a consequential negative outcome for individual Congressman, the GOP, the Democrats, the White House, the election, and oh yes, the Israelis and US-Israeli relationships.

The moral and ethical principles violated are real and palpable. But so is the legal, both civil and criminal fallout. As has been seen in many embarrassing cases, it is not legal for lawmakers to solicit or accept bribes of any kind; everybody knows this. What many people don’t know is that even talking to an agent of a foreign government is subject to the 1799 Logan Act (you may remember it from House Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to speak in front of Congress.

The Logan Act was created in response to George Logan's unauthorized negotiations with France in 1798 (Logan was a Pennsylvania lawmaker who negotiated as a private citizen) after President Adam’s envoys failed. The Logan Act (which is a felony and has been amended a few times since) states that:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Further, in the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936), Justice Sutherland wrote in the majority opinion:

“[T]he President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.”

From these and other laws and precedents, it is clear nobody but the President, and his designated representatives, has the authority to negotiate for the United States and even Congress does not have the power to go behind the President’s back and make agreements (especially for favors), e.g., vote a certain way on national security related items. And, if true, that is exactly what the Congressional lawmakers who were in conversation with Israeli government officials apparently did.

How do we know this? Because “swept up” in the conversations recorded between Israeli leadership were discussions on getting undecided lawmakers to vote in a way helpful to Israel, and at the same time harmful to the President’s negotiations, regarding the Iran nuclear deal Obama was trying to cut with Iran. If the allegations made by the WSJ about American lawmakers collaborating with a foreign power without the President’s authority, then that would seem to me to be a felonious action in violation of the Logan Law by trying to “defeat the measures of the United States”.

In addition to the two aforementioned bombshells in the WSJ report there were also these findings about our erstwhile ally:

  • Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks
  • The Israelis coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal


What's Next?

WHO KNOWS? BUT ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN, it will be exciting to see. Along with “What’s it going to take?”, now we have Netanyahu actively attempting to subvert Obama’s agenda by making American organizations complicit in their illegal behavior; no wonder President Obama, while supporting Israel as strongly as ever, has a bone to pick with his Israeli counterpart.

One thing I am quite sure of is that, like with the Benghazi affair, the conservative GOP will ignore the facts, protect their own, and try to destroy Obama and Clinton with innuendo, half-truths, no-truths, and unsupportable allegations. But will the White House stay true to form and not face the fact this is out there and, whether or not this kind of spying is common in all presidencies or not, not try to spin it as something not to worry about; it is the elephant in the room after all? Will Naugahyde duck for cover or, more true to form, stick it in America's eye?

There should be at least three lines of attack each side is going to take, I would think.

  1. The Obama White House will try to deflect the pain over to Congress and Israel because, when all is said and done AND whether what NSA did was right or wrong, the FACTS are 1) Israel was messing around with American foreign policy in a very big and damaging way and 2) it is highly likely some congressmen or women were complicit in Israel's subversion of America.
  2. The GOP will investigate this as if they, and maybe Israel, did nothing wrong and go after Obama personally for ordering the spying on Congress directly
  3. Netanyahu will castigate Obama, but not his conspirators in Congress, for having once broken international etiquette and spied on the leader of the best friend America has ever had.

Now that is how I think it might play out, but what really is going to happen is anybody’s guess. There are too many unknowns and moving parts at this point in time. But what is certain is there is going to be hell to pay in the following months, and possibly years, for all the players involved; the White House, Congress, and the Israelis.

Who Win, Who Loses? Do You Know?

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    • Sgt Prepper profile image

      Gunny Cracker 2 years ago from Elkhorn, WI

      God bless patriot Edward Snowden! The author of "The Next World War" Grant R. Jeffrey also wrote "Shadow Government" in 2009 about how the U.S., Israel & England all have satelites surveiling ALL wireless communication around the world. However the U.S. satellite does not monitor the U.S. and the English satellite does not monitor the UK. This is so gov't leaders and the NSA can say with a straight-face "We don't monitor our own people." Instead the information is traded back and forth between England and the U.S. Jeffrey also wrote "Countdown to the Apocalypse". I still hate Big Brother.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      cool. TY

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Yes, I have seen (on TV) such a book.

      If you want to see or hear Smerconish, he is on Sirius/XM POTUS from 9 am to noon and on CNN on Sat or Sun.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yes, this was years ago, saw him on tv. He was explaining how he went from being an Obama opposer to a supporter. He claimed there was a top secret book only for presidents eyes, that influenced everything they do. The Blue Book. (if I remember correctly) Will try and find it when I get home.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Smerconish, I listen to him almost every day going to work.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Michael Shmirnoff(?),a radio host said on first day, all presidents are given the blue book, and are never the same after. Secret and sworn to secrecy. So, I get it, but when Obama does it, Trump screams bloody

      murder. Thats what fries my french. Plus. He was outraged for years on the Birther stuff w Obama, and hes a teddy bear w Cruz. Ach, big phony! Like any who take on a persona to fool the public.

      I personally think he is waiting for all the carnage to end, so he and his rwngy friends can make a fortune rebuilding what they all destroyed.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Ironically, I sort of agree with Trump, there are foreign policy initiatives that should remain secret, sometimes for a very long time. Something like planning to attack Iran would, at the very least, must be shared with the Congress initially.

      Domestic policy is another matter, however. I can't think of any reason to keep non-draft policies from the public.

      Having said all of that, statements like that makes it even less likely to become President. And, having said THAT, I hope he wins the GOP nomination which would make Hillary a shoe-in.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Just saw a short clip...OReilly talking to Trump. Trump says he'll disband the Iran nuclear agreement (gee--who wants that?) OReilly says, "So, what are you going to do, bomb Iran?"

      Trump says, "I'm not telling you what I'm going to do"

      OReilly, "Don't the American people have a right to know?"

      Trump: "No."

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      As to Boehner, I think he simply got tired of his own Party. There six, I think, different investigations going on over Hillary's emails, and they are trying to regain their footing with Benghazi after the drubbing they took from Clinton.

      No, we have not heard the last of this from the Conservatives or from Donald Trump who is hate personified, imho.

      Thanks for reading and writing, MizB.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      You wrote: "One thing I am quite sure of is that, like with the Benghazi affair, the conservative GOP will ignore the facts, protect their own, and try to destroy Obama and Clinton with innuendo, half-truths, no-truths, and unsupportable allegations."

      Seriously, are they still going after this? I thought this had been forgotten in the wake of Donald Trump's blithering. It is a very good analysis, and I have to agree with you. We were appalled when Bibi had his meetings with our congressmen. Wasn't Boehner the ringleader, and wasn't my state's Tom Cotton right in the middle, too? Do you think this is one reason Boehner resigned the speakership?

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I will never forgive the Republicans. Not that they care. Maybe one day theyll have the humility to see the damage they have done to our once kind country. Mean is the norm now.

      As for Beebs, his days are numbered. He is also wanted for crimes against humanity, along with Bush and Cheney.

      It just will take the ones with integrity to know when the time is right to apprehend them.

      UK is not off the hook either, or France.....

      This expose you wrote about is but the first step in the house of cards falling, i hope.

      Its been a long time coming, and so much horror and pain to heal.

      So many lives hurts to think about.

      Just pray for it to end.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks Larry, I appreciate you reading this.

      I do agree with you, Lovemychris, that it is despicable and frankly against all the values America stands for (and the Right holds so dear ... Not) that the Right convened a committee, on day minus 20 (I think it was early January) to plot a long-term strategy to make life a living hell for our first black President. And they did their damnedest to carrying in out, not even caring that they did (are doing) significant, long-term harm to our economy, how the rest of the world views us, and even how we view ourselves.

      I also agree with you that Bibi is the worst thing to happen to Israel in a very long time, probably worse than the Palestinians he hates so much. He has a large part of the responsibility as to why the Middle East is such a mess; and now he actively interferes with America's foreign policy.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I can back up everything but my opinion that Israel is enemy. That is for individuals to decide. And i find it infuriating that people can call our president our enemy, say that liberals hate America, but my opinion on Israel and Netanyahu is bannable offense.

      Keep will reach JFK.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Always interesting analysis.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for the comment, Lovemychris, but WOW.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Cape Wind Girl 2 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Israel is an enemy of USA. But it wont surprise me when Americans side with Netanyahu over Obama. We are occupied, sure as Gaza. And something else Snowden found: all NSA raw data goes straight to Israel. Its far worse than this story reveals. Our representatives are beholden to Israel, America be darned. Bibi is wanted for the Avi Mamri murders...including an American, who was shot point blank in the head. Rachel Corrie run over and left to die...Bibi receives standing ovations. And the only reason they give for you to be angry about this situation is because you are an anti- Semite. Thats what they say to shut you up. Good luck getting any justice here....Jane Harman was under investigation for giving info to Israel, and Gonzales squashed the investigation so she would help Bush admn cover up their illegal wiretapping.....a lot of heads would have to roll....tons. And the worst of the worst...9/11. They have way too much to lose. Theyll just call Obama a traitor, elect Trump or Hillary and bomb Iran. Anyone who doesnt like it is a Jew Hater, as ive learned from personal experience here.

      Zionism is simply Nazi with a new mask. Its fascist global control....of everything!