Tag Archives: Congress

OBAMA SPIED ON CONGRESS, ISRAEL, JEWISH LEADERS OPPOSED TO HIS IRAN DEAL

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Watergate? That was small time. This is an administration abusing a tool meant for national security purposes to win a domestic political campaign to help Iran go nuclear. Compared to this Nixon was the most ethical man in government.

President Obama announced two years ago he would curtail eavesdropping on friendly heads of state after the world learned the reach of long-secret U.S. surveillance programs.

But behind the scenes, the White House decided to keep certain allies under close watch, current and former U.S. officials said. Topping the list was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

No real surprise here. About the only people who believe Obama gets along with Israel are Jewish Democrats.

The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears—an “Oh-s— moment,” one senior U.S. official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

So Obama let the NSA take the fall while still spying on Congress and Jewish groups in the United States.

Again, this was not spying to stop a terror attack. Or even espionage. It was surveillance whose purpose was to help Obama win Iran deal approval. The NSA was spying on the future Israeli ambassador, members of Congress and Jewish leaders because they were opposed to the Iran deal.

It’s that simple.

The fig leaf here is that they were talking to Israelis, but it’s a small step from here to just spying on them. And who is to say that didn’t happen? Who is to say that Obama didn’t use the NSA to protect ObamaCare?

Privately, Obama maintained the monitoring of Netanyahu on the grounds that it served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to current and former U.S. officials.

The compelling purpose though wasn’t national security, it was domestic politics. But for Obama, the two are one and the same. Yet this isn’t about Netanyahu. There’s a fundamental difference between spying on Netanyahu and spying on members of Congress and other Americans opposed to an Obama political agenda.

And that’s what this was.

Obama has made national security interchangeable with his own political agenda and personal influence. This is beyond Nixon. It’s Caesar.

 

House writes its own Iran letter, but to Obama

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A bipartisan letter on Iran signed by 360 members of Congress will be sent to President Obama on Thursday, one of its House signers said.

The letter, like one 47 Senate Republicans sent to Tehran’s leaders, reminds the administration that permanent sanctions relief on Iran as part of a deal to rollback its nuclear program would require new legislation from Congress.

It comes as international negotiators approach a March 24 deadline to reach a framework agreement.

“Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation,” the letter says.

“In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” it adds.

The letter stops short of supporting legislation pursued by the Senate that would allow Congress 60 days to weigh in on any final deal before its implementation.

However, it adds, “We are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said earlier this week that he would move forward next week on the Senate bill, co-authored with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the committee.

The letter, signed by a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the House, comes after Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and 46 other Republicans sent a letter to Iran warning it that any deal might not last after Obama leaves office.

The White House has threatened to veto any legislation that is passed before the talks with Iran are scheduled to conclude on June 30.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who announced the new letter, said he personally could wait until a deal was agreed to before backing congressional action on Iran, but warned the administration not to bypass Congress.

“There really cannot be any marginalization of Congress. Congress really needs to play a very active and vital role in this whole process, and any attempts to sidestep Congress will be resisted,” Engel said Thursday morning at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

“We would hope that we could get a prompt response from the White House. It’s truly a very bipartisan letter expressing Congress’ strong feelings about things that need to be in the agreement,” he said.

Senate plans March 24 action on Iran deal

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By MICHAEL WILNER

WASHINGTON — Senate Foreign Relations Committee leadership, both Democrat and Republican, will move forward on March 24 with legislation that would provide Congress with oversight powers on any future nuclear deal with Iran.

“That’s the window the world was given, and Congress is acting within that window,” one Senate aide close to the matter told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday. “Post March 24 and absent an agreement, there is no mechanism left to further delay the legislative process from moving forward.”

The committee will mark up the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 at that time without delay, several aides confirm, despite an apparent disagreement over precisely when the deadline is for world powers to reach a political framework agreement with Iran over its nuclear work.

Ten Democratic senators agreed to join their Republican colleagues in support of the legislation on the 24th, though diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working toward a March 31 deadline.

Senators consider March 24 to be the deadline because US Secretary of State John Kerry, on November 24, said a framework agreement should be reached within four months. Negotiators, instead, are counting three months backward from a hard expiration on the interim Joint Plan of Action, on June 30.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015— which would trigger new sanctions on Iran should negotiators fail to reach a deal— will also be revisited on March 24, the aide continued, unless a deal is reached.

The intention of that bill, triggering sanctions upon diplomatic failure, is to strengthen Washington’s negotiating position, according to its authors Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). The Obama administration contends that its passage would have the opposite affect.

The second bill, introduced with bipartisan support, would grant Congress the ability to vote on whether to participate in any future agreement. Such a vote might have the ultimately effect of undermining enforcement of the deal.

US President Barack Obama has threatened to veto both bills if they reach his desk.

“After two negotiating extensions and over a year-and-a-half of talks, with a steady stream of reports detailing that the Iranians have won numerous concessions, I wouldn’t bet on congressional inaction,” the aide continued. “Ultimately, the onus is not on US legislators, nor should the pressure fall on Congress, but rather, on the Iranian leadership to make the right determination about dismantling its illicit nuclear weapons program.”

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act has 64 senators on record in support of the bill after March 24, but Corker says he seeks a “veto-proof” majority of 67 votes.

Negotiations continue on Sunday in Lausanne between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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