WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that he’s “baffled” by reports that Israel spied on negotiators in the closed-door talks over Iran’s nuclear program — espionage that Israeli officials denied.
“I’m baffled by it,” Boehner told reporters about the news report that comes at a time of strained relations between the U.S. and Israel. “I’m not aware of that at all.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had shared the information it obtained with U.S. lawmakers and used it to build a case against an emerging nuclear agreement. The so-called P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia the United States and Germany — is rushing to craft a framework for a deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from sanctions before a deadline expires at the end of the month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been feuding with the White House over an emerging deal, and he has come under fire for comments he made in the final days of Israel’s parliamentary election campaign last week.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel didn’t spy on the U.S., but obtained information through other participants.
“We do not spy on the United States,” Lieberman told Army Radio. “… All the information we obtained is from a different side and not through the United States.”