Columnist Charles Krauthammer argued that the reported NSA spying on Israel that swept up members of Congress was “about trying to get through the Congress the Iran agreement” and “to win a battle with Congress”on Wednesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.
Krauthammer stated, “it’s not surprising that we spy on other leaders, what is surprising is that Obama announced publicly after the Merkel scandal that we will cease doing that to close allies. So, apparently we did for close NATO allies, but apparently made just a few exceptions, one of them is the leader of Turkey, Erdogan, not exactly a savory character, the other was a close ally of democracy, an elected leader in Netanyahu. Now, you could understand that, if there were reports that Israel might launch a preemptive attack in 2011 or 2012, that would perhaps be a national security reason. But this was not about that. This was long after Obama was re-elected, long after it was obvious the Israelis were not going to conduct a surprise attack. This was about trying to get through the Congress the Iran agreement. That is not a ‘validated’ national security purpose. This is a way to win a battle with Congress. And they knew that this was not something you’re supposed to do, that’s why there was no paper trail or request. What they did is they didn’t demand it, and of course they didn’t nix it, which is what they were supposed to do, knowing they would get lots of information, which they did. And that is, I think, a violation of the power of the executive, interfering with legitimate activities and interactions of the Congress, and also of…advocates who would and should expect that their private communications on behalf of political advocacy is something that the government ought not listen to, to listen in on abuse. That was done.”
He added, “Let’s assume it’s about a treaty, about arms control, which, legitimately, the Congress has a say in. In the Iran deal, it was legitimate that congress had a say in it. It agreed to a process in which Congress could either approve or disapprove of the treaty. And what the administration is doing, using the spying services of the government, under its control, the way you do in banana republics, to actually intervene in the process of private discussions with members of Congress [are] having, for the purpose of winning over the argument in Congress. That is illegitimate, and that ought to be something that should never be done. The administration not only did it, it understood it’s wrong, which is why it tried to do it passively without a paper trail.”
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