Charles Krauthammer Slams Obama, White House on Reaction to Israel Spying on Iran Deal Negotiations

Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer appeared on the panel for Fox News’s Special Report on Tuesday evening and blasted President Barack Obama for refusing to directly comment on a Wall Street Journal report that Israel has been spying on the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear deal as well as the administration for acting as if Israel’s actions are unprecedented.

Asked to comment on the story by substitute host Shannon Bream, Krauthammer began by noting that, in speaking with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the President “danced around it” and instead allowed “his hench men go out and conduct this incredibly hostile campaign against Israel, adding on to the refusal to accept Netanyahu’s statements about Palestinian state, et cetera.”

Turning to the Obama administration at large, the well-known syndicated columnist and author slammed the White House for being “shocked that Israel is spying on the talks” [emphasis mine]:

[T]he idea that the American side of the White House here is shocked that Israel is spying on the talks is ridiculous when you read in the Wall Street Journal article that the way that the U.S. found out about it was by its spying on Israel and, you know, we listen into Angela Merkel. This is some kind of shocking development and in fact, the Israelis could easily have gotten it from eavesdropping on the Iranians and they might have gotten it openly from the French, who are in the talks, and are quite dismayed by how much Obama and the White House have given away in these negotiations and they are largely opposed to what’s been going on[.]

Closing out his brief but strong take, Krauthammer asked the rhetoric question of “what’s the big charge against the Israelis that they shared some of this with Congress” considering the fact that:

Isn’t it the obligation of a White House administration negotiating the most important deal in the generation that it should share information? This is secret information, so the White House is withholding it from the Congress of the United States. That, in and of itself, is rather shocking.

As for whether any of the major broadcast networks covered this story on their Tuesday night newscasts, only NBC Nightly News mentioned it with a full report from NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell. 

Leading into Mitchell’s report, interim anchor Lester Holt ruled that the allegations in the Wall Street Journal piece “may only further chill the frosty relationship between the Obama White House and the Israeli government.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report on March 24 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report
March 24, 2015
6:45 p.m. Eastern

SHANNON BREAM: Well, and Charles, the President was asked about it today and said something about it’s not as easy as singing kumbaya and holding hands. These are very difficult issues. 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, he danced around it but lets his hench men go out and conduct this incredibly hostile campaign against Israel, adding on to the refusal to accept Netanyahu's statements about Palestinian state, et cetera, but the idea that the American side of the White House here is shocked that Israel is spying on the talks is ridiculous when you read in the Wall Street Journal article that the way that the U.S. found out about it was by its spying on Israel and, you know, we listen into Angela Merkel. This is some kind of shocking development and in fact, the Israelis could easily have gotten it from eavesdropping on the Iranians and they might have gotten it openly from the French, who are in the talks, and are quite dismayed by how much Obama and the White House have given away in these negotiations and they are largely opposed to what’s been going on, but one last point. So, what's the big charge against the Israelis that they shared some of this with Congress? Isn’t it the obligation of a White House administration negotiating the most important deal in the generation that it should share information this is secret information so the White House is with holding it from the Congress of the United States that in and of itself is rather shocking.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Iran Israel/Palestine NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report Wall Street Journal Video Government & Press President Barack Obama President Obama Shannon Bream Charles Krauthammer Andrea Mitchell Lester Holt Benjamin Netanyahu Barack Obama
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