Shot in the Foot, Russia Today’s Gaff on NSA Spying



…by  Gordon Duff, VT Senior Editor

Russia Today has shot itself in the foot twice in 24 hours.  The first huge blunder was in trying to resurrect Seymour Hersh as an “anti-American” icon in a carefully crafted but meaningless diatribe that, as it always does, spins on its ear and shoots down Iran and Russia.  

Jim Dean will fill in on that one but suffice it to say, RT failed to really read the Hersh piece they are pushing which, in reality, exists only to foist wild anti-Iranian hoax conspiracies on those too stupid to know better.

This one is worse.  RT has chosen “Peter Hoekstra” of Muskegon, Michigan as their heroic defender of what is good and true.  The problem is, Hoekstra is the enemy, he hates Russia and only earlier today put out an attack piece on Obama, not for spying on congress but for ending sanctions on Iran.  Hoekstra believed threatening Iran with nuclear war was the path to go with, something Russia today should have been aware of.

Peter Hoekstra is and always has been a cheap political opportunist, a shill of special interest and a simpleton hack.

Hoekstra, of course, was dead center in the corrupt Israel lobby and very much a part of those who would have been burned, were he still in office.  Instead, the ‘twitters’ or “tweets” as they are called that RT has included are nothing more than Hoekstra attacking Obama for doing what was right, what Russia supports and what was good for the people of Iran.

What we are saying is that RT has screwed up again and is on the wrong side of an issue just because it took the side available that attacked Obama, too stupid to note that they were attacking Obama for not being bad enough.

Press TV, as usual, followed RT over the cliff, equal carelessness. I strongly suspect that RT and Press TV really don’t understand English or that key staffers need to be put on Ritalin.

Jim Dean and I have a standing offer on the table to Press TV and RT:  When you are running this kind of story, call us up and ask us if, just possibly, you might be putting your foot in your mouth.

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NSA spied on Israel amid Iran talks, caught some US lawmakers’ private talks – report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. © Jonathan Ernst
The NSA spied on Israel despite a US pledge to curtail surveillance of ally states, revealing how the Israelis lobbied US lawmakers to reject the Iranian nuclear deal. The snooping also reportedly eavesdropped on some members of Congress’ private talks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the spying has been ongoing during President Barack Obama’s two terms and continued unabated even after Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations in 2013. Following the scandal, the Obama administration composed a so-called protected list, shielding close allies from surveillance, including countries such as Germany or France. However, despite close ties, Israel was not included and was, instead, made the NSA’s top surveillance priority, along with Turkey.

“Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” a senior US official told the Journal, using Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s nickname.


President Obama approved of spying on his Israeli counterpart because it served a “compelling national security purpose,”current and former US officials told the WSJ. The new report is based on more than two-dozen interviews with both intelligence and administration officials.

As a part of the surveillance, the NSA eavesdropped on communications between Israeli and US lawmakers amid efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. Specifically, the efforts of the Netanyahu government to turn legislators against the negotiations and convince them to block the emerging agreement were revealed, the article said.

It was also discovered that Netanyahu and his advisers leaked details they had learned of though Israeli intelligence concerning the US-Iran negotiations, and coordinated with Jewish-American groups to dissuade undecided lawmakers from voting to approve the deal. 

The US managed to capture communications between Netanyahu and his aides, which led to mistrust between Washington and Tel Aviv and created a politically sticky situation when the Israeli leader spoke to Congress in an attempt to push through his anti-Iran message.

The White House believed that the intercepted information could be worthwhile in countering Netanyahu’s efforts. Yet, the WSJ reports, it was clear that asking for it directly would be “politically risky.” To avoid “a paper trail stemming out from a request,” the White House left it to the NSA to decide what information should be either shared or withheld.

However, this is when the NSA realized it was also sweeping up some conversations the Israelis were having with US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.

“That raised fears—an ‘Oh-s— moment,’ one senior US official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress,” the WSJ writes.

According to the report, the NSA removed the lawmakers’ names from intelligence reports, along with personal information and “trash talk.” The White House did not ask the NSA to identify any of the lawmakers caught in the surveillance.


“From what I can tell, we haven’t had a problem with how incidental collection has been handled concerning lawmakers,”Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the WSJ.

When reached for comment, government officials representing Israel, Germany, and France declined to speak to the Journal, as did the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the NSA.


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