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Netanyahu denies Israel spied on U.S.-Iran talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

TEL AVIV – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told WND Tuesday that Israel “unequivocally and totally” denies a news report claiming the Jewish state spied on the U.S.-led talks to forge a deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

“This is a story by uncited, anonymous sources and doesn’t have an ounce of truth to it,” Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported unnamed senior White House officials had learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks between Iran and the P5 + 1 Western powers.

The report quoted “current and former U.S. officials” saying the alleged spying was a part of Netanyahu’s campaign to build a case against the emerging deal with Tehran.

The officials claimed that in addition to eavesdropping, “Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe,” the report said.

The report claimed the Obama administration was less upset about the alleged information-gathering than about what the officials claimed was “Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others” in a campaign against the talks.

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“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official described by the Journal as briefed on the matter.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday he was “shocked” by the Journal’s report.

Boehner said he is not aware of evidence Israel shared illicit information with lawmakers.

“I was shocked by the fact that there were reports in this press article that information was being passed on from the Israelis to members of congress,” Boehner said. “I’m not aware of that at all.”