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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The NSA and Israel: the Latest GOP Much to do About Nothing

No doubt the GOP will try to make a mountain out of the latest molehill-that we spied on Israel when Netanyahu was coming in for his big speech to the GOP Congress. The real scandal is that he was trying to interfere in US affairs and that Boehner and friends were so eager to allow him to do just that.

But really, spying on Israel is shocking? All nations spy and not just on their enemies.

“Top Democrats in Congress are brushing off a report that U.S. intelligence intercepted communications between Israeli government officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.”

“Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it is no secret that the U.S. and Israel spy on each other, even though they are allies.”

“I’m not surprised,” he told The Hill. “I kind of think the report is much to do about nothing.”

“Engel, a staunch supporter of Israel, said he met twice behind closed doors with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer during the heated debate over the nuclear agreement with Iran. He said Dermer presented the Israeli government’s case against the deal.”

“The New York congressman indicated he decided to oppose the deal based on details he learned in briefings from U.S. officials, rather than arguments made by the Israelis. He said he wouldn’t be concerned if his conversations with Dermer happened to be caught by American intelligence.”

“I assume that everything I say — someone is listening. I am careful that what I say in public is what I say in private,” Engel said. “You just have to assume that when you’re a public person, what you say [could be monitored] … I don’t know what this really tells us.”

“Engel’s comments come one day after The Wall Street Journal published a report saying the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on communications between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli officials during the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran.”

Not surprisingly, the biggest empty suit running for President, Marco Rubio, is trying to take issue with this pretty commonplace revelation. 

“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a 2016 presidential candidate and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News on Wednesday that U.S. spying on allies “might be worse than what some people might think.”

“They have a right to be concerned about the fact that while some leaders around the world are no longer being targeted, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, Israel, is,” he said.

Rubio who didn’t even make it his business to show up to work after San Bernandino and who has a very shallow understanding of foreign affairs seems not to get that Israel has also spied on us and that this is part of the game for how nations operate.

“Engel said the story might cause another “bump” in the U.S.-Israel relationship but predicted it would be easily overcome. ”

“I have every confidence this does nothing to hurt the relationship,” he said.” Countries are all big boys and big girls, they understand this is the way of the world.”

Of course, Rubio doesn’t eat at the big boys and girls table-to busy out there not campaigning for President.

UPDATE: Actually the biggest irony of this is that he thinks it’s an outrage to spy on the Israeli government but he approves of wiretapping American citizens.

This adds toe the perception that Neocons like him care more about Israel’s interests than that of their own country. 

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