Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that he didn’t receive intelligence from the Israelis about Iran’s nuclear program.
“All the intelligence information I’ve gotten has come from America,” Reid declared to reporters outside of a caucus meeting on the Hill.
Reid confirmed that he’s met with the Israeli ambassador “over the years.”
“And we’ve heard his public — anything I’ve heard from him has been no different than his public pronouncements,” he said. “They don’t like the deal.”
Reid has recently said that he’s not discouraging Democrats from supporting bipartisan Iran bills under veto threat from the White House.
“I read that story this morning and, frankly, I was a bit shocked because there was no information revealed to me whatsoever,” Boehner said outside a closed caucus meeting.
The article said the “espionage” upset the White House because Israel was allegedly sharing “inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program.”
“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,” the WSJ quotes an unnamed senior U.S. official.
Israel called the allegations “utterly false.”
So far, no lawmaker has said they got any classified information with Israel.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told CNN he was also “shocked” by the report as he did not receive information from the Israelis. “If they were sharing information it wasn’t on our side of the aisle,” Nunes said.
Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) noted that he had a “number of meetings with Israeli officials” and in “none of those cases” did the Israelis discuss anything he deemed to be classified.
State Department press secretary Jen Psaki today called it “an absurd notion that Congress would have to rely on any foreign government to gain insight into the nuclear negotiations with Iran.”
“I think we’ve spoken in the past to our concern in the past has been about leaks of certain sensitive information. And obviously, we’ve taken steps to ensure that the negotiations remain private,” Psaki said. “But we still have ongoing conversations that are continuing with Israel and a range of countries Undersecretary Sherman has met over the past month with.”
A reporter told Psaki that the reason behind the administration’s “anonymous whining” isn’t understood.
“Well, I can’t speak to the reasoning or the motivation of an anonymous source. I think in the past, we’ve expressed steps we take in order to ensure that the talks remain private. We continue that,” Psaki replied. “…If I had the anonymous source, I’d be happy to have them up here. I don’t have any more information on the anonymous source quoted in the story.”