Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) arrives to speak at a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that he was "shocked" and "baffled" by a Wall Street Journal report published Tuesday morning that claimed Israel had spied on US nuclear talks with Iran, collecting information that was used to lobby him and his colleagues in Congress to drum up opposition to an emerging nuclear deal.
According to the Journal, Israel spied on the talks as part of the Netanyahu administration's campaign to publicly build a case against the deal.
"I'm not sure what the information was, but I'm baffled by it," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The White House was critical of Boehner for inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
to address a joint meeting of Congress earlier this month. Boehner will visit Israel
during Congress' recess in late March.
"No information [was] revealed to me whatsoever," he added.
While Israel and the US are close allies, they have been known to spy on one another, the most notorious instance being the imprisonment of US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard.
According to The Wall Street Journal
, US spy agencies intercepted communications between Israeli officials who were sharing details that the Americans say could only have been learned from the secret negotiations with Iran.
Israel, for its part, denied that it spied on American negotiators, insisting that their efforts were aimed at Iranian officials.
Both Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
strongly denied that Israel spied on its ally following the report.