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Israel Spied On Geneva Iran Talks, Shared Information With Congress

U.S. Israeli Flags

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Israel spied on the ongoing international negotiations in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program, and that it provided information that it obtained from that surveillance to Congress:

Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.

The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.

“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,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.

(…)

Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.

The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.

When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.

“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”

Current and former U.S. officials confirmed that the number and type of centrifuges cited in the briefings were part of the discussions. But they said the briefings were misleading because Israeli officials didn’t disclose concessions asked of Iran. Those included giving up stockpiles of nuclear material, as well as modifying the advanced centrifuges to slow output, these officials said.

The congressional briefings and Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint meeting of Congress on the emerging deal sparked a backlash among many Democratic lawmakers, congressional aides said.

On some level, of course, it’s neither surprising nor shocking that the Israelis were spying on the Geneva negotiations, including possible conducting surveillance of communications between American negotiators and others involved in the negotiations, whether it be the Iranians or representatives from other nations. For one thing, it’s long been an open secret that nations at this level conduct at least some form of surveillance of each other, even nations that are ostensible allies. The United States has done it, as some of the information revealed through the National Security Agency leaks from Edward Snowden has revealed in recent years, and other nations do it as well. In particular, there has been more than once well-publicized incident of Israeli intelligence conducting surveillance on the United States including, of course, the Jonathan Pollard case, which created real rifts between Israel and American officials in the 1980s and which remains a sensitive point between the two nations even to this day. Additionally, since Israel is not a party to the Geneva negotiations and yet has expressed long-standing concern regarding the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, it’s natural that they’d be conducting some kind of surveillance on the negotiations themselves. I would expect nothing less from any other nation, really.

Where the problem comes here, as the Journal notes, lies in the fact that the Israelis, and specifically Prime Minister Netanyahu and Ambassador Dermer appear to have been using the information obtained in that surveillance as part of its broader effort to attempt to make an end run around the White House in its communications with its Congress and to essentially undermine the negotiations in general, and the United States in particular. One has to wonder how the Israeli government would feel if the situation were reversed and the U.S. was using information obtained via surveillance to brief members of the Knesset in an effort to undermine one of the Prime Minister’s foreign policy initiatives. Furthermore, as Daniel Larison puts it, the entire thing is rather galling when you take the actual substance of U.S. policy on Iran into account:

This is all the more obnoxious when one considers that the U.S. has gone to extraordinary lengths to placate and reassure Israel on all matters relating to Iran for more “Clearly, the State of Israel has various security interests, and clearly we have good intelligence services,” Mr. Lieberman said on Army Radio. “We do not spy on the United States. There are enough elements involved, such as Iranian elements, first and foremost.”claims to want.

If nothing else, this report certainly does put the controversy surrounding the invitation from Speaker Boehner to Prime Minister Netanyahu into context, making clear that the Administration’s frustration with Congress and Israel is about more than just a simple breach of protocol or an invitation to a foreign leader on the eve of an election in his country. Indeed, it makes the way that White House reacted to that incident more understandable because it places it in the context of a clear effort by Israel to undermine the President’s foreign policy initiative through a rather blatant appeal to partisan U.S. politics. It also makes clear that the rift between the U.S. and Israel that has developed in recent years is unlikely to calm down any time soon.

Update: Israel has denied the allegations in the Journal’s report:

JERUSALEM — Three top Israeli ministers on Tuesday denied a report that their intelligence services had spied on the closed-door negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, as tensions continued to mount between Washington and Jerusalem.

“There is no such thing as Israel spying on the Americans,” the defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, said at a pre-Passover toast, according to a transcript provided by his office. Mr. Yaalon said he had checked and found no complaint from the United States to Israeli intelligence services about such spying. “There is a strict prohibition on that,” he said.

Yuval Steinitz, the minister for strategic affairs, who is in Europe lobbying officials about the Iran talks, said on Israeli television that “these claims are baseless and we reject them outright.” Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, called the report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday “incorrect and inaccurate,” but hinted that Israel may have gleaned information about the talks from spying on the Iranian side.

“Clearly, the State of Israel has various security interests, and clearly we have good intelligence services,” Mr. Lieberman said on Army Radio. “We do not spy on the United States. There are enough elements involved, such as Iranian elements, first and foremost.”

President Obama, meanwhile, declined to comment on the report during a press appearance today but did have other things to say about the relationship with Israel:

A significant disagreement between the United States and Israel was on full, public display at the White House on Tuesday.

During a news conference, President Obama said he took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his word that there would not be a two-state solution in the Middle East as long as he is in power.

If you remember, Netanyahu made waves after he seemed to write off a two-state solution on the eve of parliamentary elections.

In later interviews, he softened that stance. Netanyahu told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Thursday: “What I said was that under the present circumstances, today, it is unachievable. I said that the conditions have to change.”

Obama wrote off what he called Netanyahu’s “correctives.”

“I took him at his word that that’s what he meant and I think that a lot of voters inside of Israel understood him to be saying that unequivocally,” Obama said at Tuesday’sjoint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Even if you accept Netanyahu’s clarifications, Obama said, “there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework being established that would lead to a Palestinian state. It’s not just my estimation, I think it’s hard to envision how that happens based on the prime minister’s statements.”

Obama said that because of Netanyahu’s statements, the U.S. now has to re-evaluate its diplomatic posture on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Obama made it clear that the U.S. will continue to cooperate with Israel when it comes to security and intelligence.

“That continues unabated,” he said. “I will continue to do whatever I need to do to make sure that our friends in Israel are safe. That’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president and that is not going to stop.”

Obama added: “What we can’t do is pretend that there is a possibility of something that is not there. And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years. That is something that we have to — for the sake of our own credibility — we have to be able to be honest about that.”

This is far from over.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. RaflW says:

    “There is no client that has less reason to complain about U.S. treatment and less cause to doubt U.S. goodwill than Israel,” says Larison.

    But the client state is doing a fantastic job of complaining and treating the U.S. with all sorts of bad will. This will not inure to Israel’s benefit. I just don’t see how things continue in a business as usual way between us and Bibi’s regime.

    I think it is high time we look at cuts to military aid to Israel. They seem to want to strike out on their own course. Fine. We taxpayers don’t need to foot quite as much of the bill going forward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Did anyone actually think Israel wasn’t going to spy on these meetings?

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  3. Ron Beasley says:

    Good article here on Netanyahu.

    For the next two years at least, relations with the US will remain strained, and any deal with Iran will happen whether Israel likes it or not. Worse still, sources within the White House have suggested that without Israeli commitment to the stated American strategic goal of a two-state solution, the USA might no longer automatically exercise its UN Security Council veto in Israel’s favour.

    That could soon see Israel subject to a resolution stipulating a border based on the 1967 ceasefire lines and shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, which the Netanyahu government will of course resolutely reject.

    More likely, the European Union and its individual member states will begin to impose economic sanctions and limit trade with Israel, or strengthen the Palestinian campaign for statehood by offering official recognition, as Sweden did in October 2014.

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  4. Ron Beasley says:
  5. Another Mike says:

    There really doesn’t seem to be much here. Who are these officials who are saying these things? How did Israel “penetrate” the negotiations? How did they “eavesdrop” on the talks? Asking friendly countries what’s being discussed is run-of-the-mill nosiness. This story seems to be political fluff about nothing.

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  6. michael reynolds says:

    @Another Mike:

    Here’s what you need to do: see the words Doug wrote which are highlighted in red? If you click on that line it will magically take you to the WSJ, which answers all your questions.

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  7. @Stormy Dragon:

    As I said, the spying on the negotiations isn’t surprising, nor is it necessarily all that big of a deal. The bigger issue is the way it was used to lobby Congress.

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  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I agree. Of course Mossad spied, obviously they would.

    But Israel has quite clearly lost its collective mind. They’re confused. They’ve forgotten who’s the superpower and who is the dependent client state. The time has come to remind them. We should cut military support and we should sit on our hands in the security council.

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  9. RaflW says:

    @Ron Beasley: I do think Netanyahu and his party didn’t really game out what the broader implications of going all-in with the GOP might be. Up till now it has always been hard for folks in the US to talk of curbing aid or being less lock-step with Israel in the UN.
    But in our shallow news and political discourse in America, it seems that just about anything is fair game to be scored as Dem/Repub or Liberal/Conservative, and in that realm of score-taking, Israel becomes just another partisan issue like taxes or guns. Dumb move by Bibi & Likud, and one that is rather hard to reverse in the short term. He can’t just non-pologize this one like he’s trying to do over Arab-Israelis voting.

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  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Yeah, when people were questioning just how the U.S. could retaliate, my first thought was “Palestine is going to be a lot more active at the U.N.”

    Thanks for the link.

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  11. C. Clavin says:

    BEST ALLY EVER.

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  12. Facebones says:

    @RaflW: Absolutely. Support for Israel has always a non-partisan issue. Now, it’s just another political topic and Bibi has no one to blame for that but himself.

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  13. al-Ameda says:

    Netanyahu and the Republican Party stepped in it, however there appear to be no negative domestic political consequences to either of them for pulling this stunt.

    It seems to me that Netanyahu is a lot like Nixon – there isn’t anything he will NOT say or do to advance his agenda. Current Republicans are right there too, however they lack Netanyahu’s veneer of polish. They are anti-government radicals – they will do whatever it takes to bring government down. This is what the voters wanted, they asked for it, they got it.

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  14. JKB says:

    So Israel conducted the same level of spying that all countries do since even as allies they have different interests. Then, horrifyingly, they provided some of that intelligence gathered on the Executive branch of the US government to the branch of the US government with oversight of the Executive branch responsibilities, i.e., the Legislative Branch.

    The promised to-be-transparent Obama Administration hates whistleblowers and has prosecuted more than any other administration for telling those with Constitutional oversight responsibilities what the administration was up to.

    The only shocking thing here is that the Office of the President, senior Legislative branch members and top bureaucratic agency officers have become so incestuous that the American People must depend on a foreign government to protect their interests by informing their elected representatives of the actions of the undemocratic and mostly unelected cabal in Washington.

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  15. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    The official policy of the US has been a two-party state going back to the 70’s.
    It is no longer the policy of Israel…if you take Netanyahu at his (very clear) word.
    There is no longer a good reason for the US to be an automatic veto of Palestinian Statehood at the UN.

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  16. grumpy realist says:

    Israel reminds me of a bratty teenager that took the family car without your permission, totaled it through drunk driving, and is now whining because he’s grounded and you won’t buy him his very own Lotus sports car.

    We’ve indulged these bozos long enough. Cut them off completely and let them sink or swim on their own.

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  17. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Explain to me, in terms of US strategic interests, why Israel is a useful ally.

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  18. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    The promised to-be-transparent Obama Administration hates whistleblowers and has prosecuted more than any other administration for telling those with Constitutional oversight responsibilities what the administration was up to.

    Okay, I’ll put you down for:
    “I’m okay with the toxic stunt that Netanyahu and Congressional Republicans pulled to derail the negotiations and strengthen the Iranian position in so doing”

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  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:

    The only shocking thing here is that the Office of the President, senior Legislative branch members and top bureaucratic agency officers have become so incestuous that the American People must depend on a foreign government to protect their interests by informing their elected representatives of the actions of the undemocratic and mostly unelected cabal in Washington.

    By “mostly unelected cabal” you mean, the executive branch, yes? In that case, I am afraid you have to mail your concerns to the founders for failing to have established a parliamentary or direct democracy.

    Also, I have a vague feeling that if in 2003, the French spied on Bush and Blair negotiations, and leaked the details to Democrats in Congress in order to undermine preparations for Operation Iraqi Freedom, your defense of the principle of executive branch transparency would have been a little milder.

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  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Considering Israel’s conduct, I can’t help but be reminded of the proverbial child throwing a tantrum in the restaurant, while the parent sits idly by assuring everybody else that the child is just expressing itself.

    There are times where a spanking is the best tactic to employ. This is one of those times.

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  21. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    The only shocking thing here is that the Office of the President, senior Legislative branch members and top bureaucratic agency officers have become so incestuous that the American People must depend on a foreign government to protect their interests

    Speak for yourself, not the “American People.” My interests are not being serving by Likud.

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  22. Tillman says:

    Even if I thought Obama was horrible, I wouldn’t side against him with a foreign leader clearly undermining an attempt at a peaceful resolution to an issue of nuclear proliferation. That’s just insane.

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  23. Mu says:

    We don’t have any laws in place that would require a US citizen to cry wolf if they receive classified information from a foreign intelligence service?

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  24. Jack says:

    This, from the most transparent administration EVAH!

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  25. Loviatar says:

    This, from the most transparent administration EVAH!

    I see this is going to be the talking point from the reichwing.

    However, I don’t understand crazy, so could someone please explain it to me what it has to do with Israel’s spying on the US negotiating team, then feeding cherry picked, out of context bits to the Republicans.

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  26. Tillman says:

    I was going to write something about there being a difference between whistleblower transparency and a foreign power undermining negotiations by interfering in internal government business, but whatever, it’s a thin insinuation. If you can get some glee from thin insinuations, by all means.

    @downvoter: You remember 2008, when Putin invaded Georgia and President Bush was adamant about it being a blatant violation of international law and an act of aggression? Despite the horrific hypocrisy of saying such after launching a needless war in Iraq, I was still on Bush’s side. And let me tell you, my opinion of our forty-third president is very low.

    I’m not saying we should all be whipped into constant nationalistic fervor, but I think it’d be nice if we remembered we were Americans first and partisans second.

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  27. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    the American People must depend on a foreign government to protect their interests

    Please explain to me how war with Iran is the American Peoples interest.
    Because that is the only logical explanation, and/or end result, of these actions.

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  28. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    This, from the most transparent administration EVAH!

    I think we all agree that all diplomatic initiatives and negotiations should be done in public.

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  29. Gavrilo says:

    So, officials of a foreign government lobbied members of Congress to oppose a deal that is not in the best interests of that foreign government? Wow! Must be the first time that’s ever happened.

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  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    the American People must depend on a foreign government to protect their interests

    Could you elaborate here with regard to specifically which American interests are being protected by Israel’s actions?

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  31. JKB says:

    @humanoid.panda: Also, I have a vague feeling that if in 2003, the French spied on Bush and Blair negotiations, and leaked the details to Democrats in Congress

    You mean those Democrats in Congress who whole heartedly voted to authorize the actions that had been planned with a large coalition of foreign governments in accordance with UN resolutions? The plans made with active involvement by members of Congress? Those plans?

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  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    You didn’t answer his question.

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  33. Charon says:

    @Gavrilo:

    There may be some question whether the best interests of Binyamin Netanyahu are consistent with the best interests of Israel.

    But leave that aside. If the best interests of the current Israel government conflict with those of the united States, it follows that Israel, currently, is not a very good nor reliable ally – especially given proof that Netanyahu’s word should not be trusted.

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  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Please name (with linked verification) another time when Congress worked with a client nation to undermine active diplomatic negotiations.

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  35. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB: See, I am not arguing about whether those plans were bad or good. I am just pointing out that there were indeed Democrats, for example Nansi Pelosi, who were opposed to them, and specualted that you would not have liked it if the French were leaking confidential info to to them, not one bit. Nice deflection though.

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  36. humanoid.panda says:

    If you didn’t like me partisan speculation ,imagine the French were leaking that info to Ron Paul. Again, how would you have reacted to it?

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  37. C. Clavin says:

    I think all the people supporting Congress and Israel conspiring to undermine ongoing diplomatic negotiations should come out and say that they want a war with Iran. Seriously…admit that war is what you want. Because there is no other logical outcome here.

    Netanyahu, like his Republican Congressional Co-conspirators, has been wrong about everything. For the last 15 years he has been saying that Iran was one year away from making a bomb. Yet he’s the one sitting on 75 war-heads, not Iran. He denounced the Interim Accord as favoring Iran…and that Iran would break it…but the reality is that it has been remarkably effective.

    Netanyahu and Republicans have been the biggest problems in the Middle East; see Iraq War, 2003. They are intent on war…and it kills them that Obama appears to be making significant strides toward solving the problem peacefully.

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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Bibi’s more intent on getting reelected, and he doesn’t much care about the cost. Likud can’t retain power without fear.

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  39. C. Clavin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    And, apparently, neither can Republicans.

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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Ding ding ding 😀

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  41. Gavrilo says:

    @Charon:

    There may be some question whether the best interests of Binyamin Netanyahu are consistent with the best interests of Israel.

    If only there was a way for the people of Israel to let the world know whether or not Netanyahu represents their interests.

    But leave that aside. If the best interests of the current Israel government conflict with those of the united States, it follows that Israel, currently, is not a very good nor reliable ally – especially given proof that Netanyahu’s word should not be trusted.

    So, Israel isn’t a good ally unless it subordinates its interests to those of the U.S.? Really?

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  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    So, Israel isn’t a good ally unless it subordinates its interests to those of the U.S.? Really?

    No, it isn’t a good ally unless the alliance serves the interests of both parties more or less equally.

    It’s not problematic from the standpoint of an alliance if Israel’s actions benefit itself, AS LONG AS it is not benefiting itself at the expense of American interests. Same question I asked above – how do Israel’s actions in this regard benefit American interests?

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  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Moreover, Israel is not an “ally” in the conventional sense. Allies bring somewhat equal capabilities / power to the table. That isn’t Israel.

    It’s not so much an ally as it is a client state, and in that regard, it’s biting the hand that feeds it. The chutzpah involved here is somewhat amazing, even for someone who’s rarely ever shocked at how far Israel is willing to go these days …

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  44. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Please name (with linked verification) another time when Congress worked with a client nation to undermine active diplomatic negotiations.

    In late 1987 Jim Wright, then the Democratic House Speaker, met with Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega amid sensitive peace talks between Ortega’s government and the Contra rebels. At the time, Republican Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas suggested that Wright’s personal diplomacy might have violated the Logan Act, and Reagan later personally dressed Wright down in a private meeting.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/gop-iran-letter-115943.html

    Kerry and then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin visited Nicaragua in 1985 to cut a deal with the Sandinista government, which was close to the former Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan, however, was already set on overthrowing the Marxist government in Nicaragua by sending aid to a group of Nicaraguan rebels — the contras.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/12/kissinger-slammed-kerry-for-negotiating-with-sandinistas-in-1985-video/

    in 2002 David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson visited Baghdad and appeared from Baghdad on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos asked McDermott about his recent comment that “the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.” An American official floating unsubstantiated allegations against an American president during a visit to Baghdad…

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/737zcgnk.asp

    In April 2007, Nancy Pelosi went to Syria for a meeting with Despot/ President Bashar al-Assad, ignoring the very public objections of the Bush Administration. Even worse, she attempted to negotiate for the U.S. without administration approval and she attempted to negotiate for Israel without the knowledge of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert..

    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/pelosi-who-visited-syrias-assad-2007-despite-wh-objections-blasts-boehners-bibi-invite

    I guess it’s only news when it happens to your guy.

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  45. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It’s not problematic from the standpoint of an alliance if Israel’s actions benefit itself, AS LONG AS it is not benefiting itself at the expense of American interests.

    It’s pretty bold to suggest that disrespecting Obama is thwarting American interests. Obama is not America.

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  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Since JKB is unable to do so, perhaps you’ll take up the challenge of explaining how alliance with Israel serves our strategic interests in such a way as to justify the 120 billion dollars we’ve poured into the country since 1948.

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  47. RaflW says:

    @Gavrilo: “So, Israel isn’t a good ally unless it subordinates its interests to those of the U.S.? Really?”

    There is a very wide gap between subordinating one’s interests and feeding intelligence outside established diplomatic channels to partisans in Congress to undermine diplomacy.

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  48. JKB says:

    Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said. …

    While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.

    So this is more the Israelis were running a NSA like op against a country they are at war with and who have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and the US communications to that enemy were part of the coms swept up.

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  49. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: You really think a war with Iran will be a Good Thing?

    Hello, mined Hormuz Straits, hello $200/bbl oil, hello crash of the stock market. Yeah, that’ll be great for the US….

    Also, are you willing to raise taxes to pay for Bibi’s Excellent Adventure? And sign up to fight?

    If not, how do you suggest that we PAY for such military activity? And who is supposed to fight it?

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    You characterize trying to subvert ongoing negotiations conducted not only by the US, but also the UK, China, Russia, France and Germany, as simply being disrespect to Obama?

    Seriously?

    That undermines US policy and directly affects our interests, but you consider it to be just a personal slight? Your ODS is showing …

    Same question I asked above, which none of you seem to want to answer: what AMERICAN interests do Israel’s actions serve?

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  51. Gavrilo says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Moreover, Israel is not an “ally” in the conventional sense. Allies bring somewhat equal capabilities / power to the table. That isn’t Israel.

    That’s nonsense. The U.S. has numerous allies around the world. Very few, if any, bring somewhat equal capabilities/power to the table.

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  52. Charon says:

    @Jack:

    Obama is not America.

    In this context, the Constitution would disagree.

    No matter. Neither is Tom Cotton nor John Boehner.

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  53. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Common national interests and collaborative action to advance those interests.

    “intelligence sharing and counterterrorism cooperation to joint efforts in missile defense and unmanned aerial vehicles. Noting certain unique competencies of Israel’s defense industry, they underscore the growing importance to the U.S. military of purchases of Israeli defense goods and, looking to the future, cite Israel’s world-class expertise in cyberdefense and national resilience planning as advantages that will increasingly redound to the benefit of the United States.

    Blackwill and Slocombe urge senior U.S. officials to deepen cooperation with Israel in order to maximize the strategic benefits America can derive from this relationship, noting that any costs are markedly outweighed by the many ways Israeli actions bolster U.S. national interests.”

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/israel-a-strategic-asset-for-the-united-states

    It serves U.S. security interests by supporting a strategic American ally in a vital but volatile region. It helps with the defense of Israel against the common threats of radical Islam and international terrorism, enabling Israel to act as an effective U.S. ally. It promotes the Arab-Israeli peace process by allowing the Israelis to take greater risks for peace. It helps the government of Israel to absorb hundreds of thousands of immigrants, further enhancing Israel’s effectiveness as a U.S. ally. Lastly, the U.S. aid to Israel is provided to a fellow democracy that fully shares the most fundamental values of the American people.

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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    So this is more the Israelis were running a NSA like op against a country they are at war with and who have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and the US communications to that enemy were part of the coms swept up.

    So you think that it is acceptable for a client state like Israel to spy on its master?

    It’s starting to sound to me like some people are placing Israel’s interests above America’s interests. Perhaps they are more loyal to Israel than they are to the US?

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  55. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Israel may not like what happens in the end if they egg the US into a war with Iran. Especially if there is blowback. The Christian Identity crowd wouldn’t care–the whole Mideast is supposed to dissolve in a nuclear holocaust before the End Times anyway, and the Jews are either supposed to convert or be destroyed, but I would think that Israel would be a wee bit more skeptical of the ramification of starting a war right next door. Especially when you’ve got Russia just chomping at the bit to make mischief.

    Remember how everyone thought WWI was going to be over in a month or so when it started?

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  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    That’s nonsense. The U.S. has numerous allies around the world. Very few, if any, bring somewhat equal capabilities/power to the table.

    How many of them depend on US financial & military support for their existence?

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  57. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m not advocating war with Iran. I’m advocating a deal that keep nukes away from Iran for at least another generation. Yes, Israel has nukes, but they are not threatening their neighbors with them. They’ve had them for decades and never used them. Nor have they proliferated them.

    Can you say the same about a possible nuke capable Iran which the Obama negotiations guarantee in 10 years?

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  58. RaflW says:

    @JKB: “So this is more the Israelis were running a NSA like op against a country they are at war with and who have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and the US communications to that enemy were part of the coms swept up.”

    Well, no. Does the NSA then leak/brief info to a legislative arm of a foreign government to derail ongoing talks of an elected head of state?

    In other words, how Israel go the comms is far less important than what they did with it: they played partisan footsie with Boehner, McConnell et al, who are dead-set against a possible deal with Iran. that is being negotiated by Obama. Y’know, that dude they want to undermine at every turn, even if it leads to more war (or in holes of more war? It’s not entirely clear, but one suspects.)

    Both Likud and the GOP want an ongoingly unstable middle-east, and will resort to deeply unseemly tactics to get it.

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  59. Charon says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Your ODS is showing …

    I was going to say something about a certain Kenyan Mooslim Soshulist, but couldn’t figure how to do strikeout.

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  60. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    So you think that it is acceptable for a client state like Israel to spy on its master?

    Doesn’t the US spy on the American people? Daily? Who is serving whom in this equation?

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  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    It helps with the defense of Israel against the common threats of radical Islam and international terrorism, enabling Israel to act as an effective U.S. ally. It promotes the Arab-Israeli peace process by allowing the Israelis to take greater risks for peace. It helps the government of Israel to absorb hundreds of thousands of immigrants, further enhancing Israel’s effectiveness as a U.S. ally. Lastly, the U.S. aid to Israel is provided to a fellow democracy that fully shares the most fundamental values of the American people.

    Aside from the fact that those are Israeli interests dressed up as American interests, I seriously have my doubts that apartheid is a fundamental value of the American people.

    Well, maybe the South, but the rest of us tend to frown on it …

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  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    So your answer is “yes, it is acceptable for a client state like Israel to spy on the US”. Thanks for clarifying.

    Bet you’re a big Johnathan Pollard fan too …

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  63. JKB says:

    Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret,…

    The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.

    So really, the enemy the White House was trying to keep these secrets from was the US Congress. Discovering this secrecy, members of Congress posted an open letter to Iranian leaders (posted online, sent to no one in particular) explaining how international agreements become binding under the US Constitution.

    All in all, the only people here who were trying to be kept in the dark until the betrayal was a fait accompli were the American people.

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  64. Jack says:

    @Charon:

    In this context, the Constitution would disagree.

    No, the Constitution wouldn’t. Obama is not America. Obama is the Commander in Chief of the military, not America. He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.

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  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Yea, we’ve been over that already. The Senate gets a vote on treaties (which this is not …) AFTER they have been negotiated. They do NOT get a seat at the negotiating table, nor are they entitled to information concerning ongoing negotiations unless the executive decides to share it with them, AT ITS DISCRETION …

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  66. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Every country spies on every other country. It’s expected.

    We protect our embassy in Israel from data emanation the same way we protect our embassy in Russia from data emanations. Every diplomat every must presume their conversations are being monitored until it can be shown otherwise.

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  67. RaflW says:

    @Jack: “Doesn’t the US spy on the American people? Daily? Who is serving whom in this equation?”

    Irrelevant to the discussion. It is widely understood that major powers (and middle-powers like Israel) spy routinely. That really isn’t the issue. It is the dissemination of intelligence gained to Congress outside of normal foreign relations norms and practices, with the intent of scuttling ongoing talks that are potentially in the US’s interest.

    We don’t (yet) know if the Iran deal was going to be (will be?) strong, weak, useful or not. But Bibi and the GOP have pre-decided that negotiating with Iran is bad, and will subvert expected relationships to get what they want.

    That is the problem. Not the spying per se.

    As to your little dish of herring: The US spies on US residents and some citizens in an effort to stop terrorism from claiming American lives. Is the scope of spying too broad? Probably. Are the controls to week? They sure look to be. But as far as I know, the NSA/FBI/etc are not leaking the results of covert ops to select Congressmen and women to achieve the aims of a foreign government. So as I say, your sleight of hand here is not to the point.

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  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Every country spies on every other country. It’s expected.

    So, in other words, like I said earlier, you are asserting that t is acceptable for Israel to spy on the US. You believe that Israel is entitled to spy on the US, and we should not be offended when they do so.

    Does that accurately characterize your position?

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  69. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92: So you think that it is acceptable for a client state like Israel to spy on its master?

    Well, even if you adopt the concept of client state, when the “master” is working to betray the client, the client’s obligations to the “master” are lessened.

    In any case, Israel wasn’t spying on the US. It was spying on Iran, a country that is at war with Israel. The US communications were swept up on the Iranian end.

    Not to mention, Obama learned of this because the US was spying on Israel.

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  70. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: Then you had better start screaming at a whole bunch of people on the right, because there’s nothing better guaranteed to push Iran to develop nukes, the whole nine yards, than having a war with them. Especially if we’re being seen as being a cat’s paw for Israel.

    Israel and a bunch of neocons want to have the US attack Iran. Period. What are you going to do about that?

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  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here and assert that people are (severely) rationalizing Israel’s behavior here solely because it’s Israel. They’re apologists.

    If, say, France or the UK, or China, had done this, these same people would be losing their collective minds calling for consequences.

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  72. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    I’m advocating a deal that keep nukes away from Iran for at least another generation.

    What no one can explain is how that happens?
    Maybe you would like to cut and paste something from Fox News explaining it for us?

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  73. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    nor are they entitled to information concerning ongoing negotiations unless the executive decides to share it with them, AT ITS DISCRETION

    Says who? You?

    Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government.

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  74. RaflW says:

    @JKB: We now have our new talking point, I see: Because the comms were oh-so-innocently gleaned from Iranian messages, what Israel did with those gleanings are clean.

    No. Not acceptable. The source of the intel doesn’t change the wrong action in the halls of Congress by Bibi & co., or for that matter by our congrescritters who seemed all too eager to receive them.

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  75. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Well, even if you adopt the concept of client state, when the “master” is working to betray the client, the client’s obligations to the “master” are lessened.

    And, by association, the master’s obligations to the client are lessened as well. Thank you for making the case for the US punishing Israel for its actions here.

    In any case, Israel wasn’t spying on the US. It was spying on Iran, a country that is at war with Israel. The US communications were swept up on the Iranian end.

    So, if the NSA taps your neighbor’s phone, to use your previous example, and records your conversations with him, then subsequently uses the content of those conversations against you, they are still only spying on your neighbor? That’s inventive …

    Not to mention, Obama learned of this because the US was spying on Israel.

    Source?

    See, that the beauty of loyalty. What YOUR country does to other countries is OK. What other countries do to your country is not OK.

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  76. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    So you think that it is acceptable for a client state like Israel to spy on its master?

    It’s starting to sound to me like some people are placing Israel’s interests above America’s interests. Perhaps they are more loyal to Israel than they are to the US?

    I am not a big of fan of the “Bibi is our leader” faction, but this is wildly over-stated. States will always spy on each other, and client states, who need to know where the wind at their patrons’ capital, are no exception here. What is truly exceptional is the sharing of information with Congressional actors- and the fact none of them seems to have minded.

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  77. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Says who? You?

    No, says the Supreme Court – another co-equal branch of government.

    In this vast external realm, with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.

    For that matter, so do the founders. Quoting the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, from 1816:

    The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign nations. He manages our concerns with foreign nations, and must necessarily be most competent to determine when, how, and upon what subjects negotiation may be urged with the greatest prospect of success. For his conduct, he is responsible to the Constitution. The committee consider this responsibility the surest pledge for the faithful discharge of his duty. They think the interference of the Senate in the direction of foreign negotiations calculated to diminish that responsibility, and thereby to impair the best security for the national safety. The nature of transactions with foreign nations, moreover, requires caution and unity of design, and their success frequently depends on secrecy and dispatch.

    I know you already know these things because they have been explained to you, many time already, by me.

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  78. Gavrilo says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    South Korea and Taiwan immediately come to mind. And, to a lesser extent, Japan and Germany who rely heavily on a U.S. military presence though probably not for their existence.

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  79. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92: See, that the beauty of loyalty. What YOUR country does to other countries is OK. What other countries do to your country is not OK.

    Well, yeah. Unless what my country does in the name of the American People is not representative of the People, then we disavow it and seek to replace those who did the bad act.

    The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.

    Wall Street Journal

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  80. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: @C. Clavin:

    What no one can explain is how that happens?
    Maybe you would like to cut and paste something from Fox News explaining it for us?

    So. What you are saying the answer is is to give nukes to Iran? Great thinking there Einstein.

    Were your parents related?

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  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Like I said before, it is always acceptable to me when my country spies on other countries.

    It is never acceptable to me when other countries spy on my country.

    I’m an American, ergo the only interests that I care about are those of the US. Israel’s interests are not my concern.

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  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You think any of those countries are unable to afford a military by themselves? LOL

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  83. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    See, that the beauty of loyalty. What YOUR country does to other countries is OK. What other countries do to your country is not OK.

    So, you were all for the invasion of Iraq, Good to know.

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  84. Tillman says:

    Obama is not America. Duly noted, one man is not a contiguous mass of land plus overseas holdings totaling some 3.5 million square miles, or the some 320 million people that live on it all.

    Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we had, like, a chief representative for all that land and the people who live on it? What would you call that, a head of state?

    Republicans went overboard in defending presidential integrity as being synonymous with the nation not too long ago, what with calling people unpatriotic who didn’t agree with George Bush and the then-new circumscriptions of privacy to fight terrorists or the waging of unnecessary wars. What a political about-face we’ve seen in a relatively short time. Nevermind, @HL92‘s got this.

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  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Well, yeah. Unless what my country does in the name of the American People is not representative of the People, then we disavow it and seek to replace those who did the bad act.

    Interesting. What. specifically, do you believe is being done that is not representative of the people?

    We’re not a democracy. You don’t get direct input. If you don’t like the way that things are run, vote for someone different.

    Although, considering that the leader conducting these negotiations was elected by the people, TWICE no less, perhaps it’s better to say that they aren’t representative of YOU.

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  86. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    So, you were all for the invasion of Iraq, Good to know.

    No, but once we were engaged there, I supported my country and wished for its success. I didn’t run around trying to undermine it because I disagreed with the course of action.

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  87. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.

    Ah, the naiveté. Like the president, congress can and will do whatever it can get away with.
    Why should congress be confined by the Constitution and laws when the executive is not?

    I would prefer congress go full rogue on the Obama regime. Of course, republicans are too spineless to do that.

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  88. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    What YOUR country does to other countries is OK.

    That is what you said. So, the invasion itself, the destruction, and following occupation was done by America. And you still today support it. Because “our” country did it to another country, it must be OK.

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  89. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    You don’t have an answer…so like a petulant child you toss out insults.
    You’re advocating war with Iran…and because you only copy and paste your opinions from others…you aren’t even aware of what you are advocating.
    What always blows me away is how strongly people like you hold opinions on topics that you do not even understand. Like James P. yesterday not understanding his insurance is subsidized by the Government.
    It seems to me if you don’t have a clue about a particular topic you would listen and try to learn…instead of trying to impress others with how much you don’t know.

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  90. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I would prefer congress go full rogue on the Obama regime.

    Which is, of course, the only point that you are trying to make here: you don’t like Obama, and anything that weakens him is ok with you – even if it comes at the expense of our interests.

    All the rest of your bloviating is just foot-stamping window dressing for the fact that you … do … not … like … Obama …

    Thanks for playing …

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  91. Jack says:

    Reposting as it got stuck in the spam filters for so long.

    @C. Clavin:

    Please name (with linked verification) another time when Congress worked with a client nation to undermine active diplomatic negotiations.

    In late 1987 Jim Wright, then the Democratic House Speaker, met with Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega amid sensitive peace talks between Ortega’s government and the Contra rebels. At the time, Republican Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas suggested that Wright’s personal diplomacy might have violated the Logan Act, and Reagan later personally dressed Wright down in a private meeting.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/gop-iran-letter-115943.html

    Kerry and then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin visited Nicaragua in 1985 to cut a deal with the Sandinista government, which was close to the former Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan, however, was already set on overthrowing the Marxist government in Nicaragua by sending aid to a group of Nicaraguan rebels — the contras.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/12/kissinger-slammed-kerry-for-negotiating-with-sandinistas-in-1985-video/

    in 2002 David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson visited Baghdad and appeared from Baghdad on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos asked McDermott about his recent comment that “the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.” An American official floating unsubstantiated allegations against an American president during a visit to Baghdad…

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/737zcgnk.asp

    In April 2007, Nancy Pelosi went to Syria for a meeting with Despot/ President Bashar al-Assad, ignoring the very public objections of the Bush Administration. Even worse, she attempted to negotiate for the U.S. without administration approval and she attempted to negotiate for Israel without the knowledge of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert..

    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/pelosi-who-visited-syrias-assad-2007-despite-wh-objections-blasts-boehners-bibi-invite

    I guess it’s only news when it happens to your guy.

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  92. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Please address my post at 14:43. I suppose it was OK when the people with a (D) behind their name did it?

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  93. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    even if it comes at the expense of our interests.

    It’s in American interests to GIVE nukes to Iran? Really?

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  94. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Or you could try answering the question.
    Muhwahahahahahaha…I crack myself up.

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  95. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:

    Well, yeah. Unless what my country does in the name of the American People is not representative of the People, then we disavow it and seek to replace those who did the bad act.

    Yes, if you feel that the executive branch is doing something not representative of the people it is your civic duty to protest it, or pressure legislators to impeach the president who is heading the executive branch, or push legislators to pass a law that will defund his actions, and so on. However, if your fellow citizens fail to rise up, and you don’t have enough votes to impeach, and Congress can’t gather enough votes for a veto proof majority to defund, you can’t neither negotiate with power powers, or seek to sabotage whatever the president is doing- just wait for the next election. The President was elected to be the embodiment of the People in their relations with the outside world, and usurping him is usurping the People.

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  96. Gavrilo says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Without the backing of the U.S., you think Taiwan would last 5 minutes against China? LOL

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  97. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Which is, of course, the only point that you are trying to make here: you don’t like Obama, and anything that weakens him is ok with you – even if it comes at the expense of our interests.

    So, Obama can ignore Congress and do as he pleases because he has a phone and a pen, but Congress cannot do the same? Again, the are co-equal branches of government. Congress is not bound by the Executive.

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  98. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Like I said before, it is always acceptable to me when my country spies on other countries.

    It is never acceptable to me when other countries spy on my country.

    I’m an American, ergo the only interests that I care about are those of the US. Israel’s interests are not my concern.

    By that logic, the US will not have any allies..

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  99. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Know what? Every single one of them was in the wrong. Every single one of them violated separation of powers, if not federal law in the bargain.

    Thank you for making the case for why Congressional Republicans were equally wrong. It’s nice when your opponent makes your argument for you.

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  100. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Both Taiwan and Korea heavily depend on the US for protection, I’d argue much heavily than Israel, given that unlike the latter, they have powerful hostile neighbors.

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  101. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    By that logic, the US will not have any allies..

    By your logic, it’s equally ok for them to spy on us, so why would they care if they expect to be spied on?

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  102. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Don’t you have a sheep to “sheer”?

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  103. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Both Taiwan and Korea heavily depend on the US for protection

    Because we are willing to provide it. Do you actually think that either of them couldn’t afford to field a defense on their own, or are incapable of developing weaponry on their own? It’s apples to oranges.

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  104. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    So, Obama can ignore Congress and do as he pleases because he has a phone and a pen, but Congress cannot do the same? Again, the are co-equal branches of government. Congress is not bound by the Executive.

    Where negotiations with foreign powers are concerned? Yes, he can. The Constitution gives him, and him alone, that power.

    Congress is bound by the Constitution. They don’t get to ignore it simply because you don’t like what the president does.

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  105. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Do I think Taiwan is capable of developing a military and weaponry that would deter China froma ttacking it? No, not for a second- it’s deterrence is based on the United States. South Korea is in a slightly different situation, but there is a reason why the US is still in the DMZ…

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  106. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    You honestly think the Taiwanese, who manufacture a decent sized chunk of our tech, are incapable of building nukes, or wouldn’t if they felt the need to?

    We’re getting off on a tangent here. Do you think that what Israel did here is defensible?

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  107. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    So, officials of a foreign government lobbied members of Congress to oppose a deal that is not in the best interests of that foreign government? Wow! Must be the first time that’s ever happened.

    So, you don’t see the difference between a foreign government lobbying group that publicizes its dissatisfaction with American Policy, and an American political party that asks that foreign government come to Washington, speak to Congress, derail a sensitive negotiation, and confer a negotiating advantage to Iran? In effect, a domestic political party is asking a foreign government to do its bidding? You see no difference between that and generic garden variety lobbying? Really?

    Okey doke.

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  108. Just Me says:

    All countries spy on each other. The US upset allies when it was learned they were spying on them (even though we all know everyone is spying on each other).

    No reason to be shocked that Israel would want to spy on negotiations involving one of their major enemies.

    Also, it’s pretty clear Israel doesn’t trust the Obama administration (whether it’s justified or not doesn’t change the fact that they don’t trust Obama to consider their interests or follow through).

    It’s also pretty clear that Obama doesn’t like Netanyahu and likely that feeling is mutual.

    As for Israel telling Obama’s secrets to congress-good for them. I personally don’t trust Obama to be honest with congress or the American people anymore. Obama would be happy if he could just be a modern Ceasar with a congress for pure show so he didn’t look so emporer like.

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  109. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    It’s in American interests to GIVE nukes to Iran? Really?

    Was it in our interests to tacitly, if not directly, give nukes to Israel?

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  110. Moosebreath says:

    @Jack:

    “I’m advocating a deal that keep nukes away from Iran for at least another generation.”

    And yet you appear to be in favor of throwing out a deal which prevents Iran from getting nukes for 10 years in favor of no deal, which enables them to get them next year. Is this an improvement in your mind?

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  111. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Without the backing of the U.S., you think Taiwan would last 5 minutes against China? LOL

    Mostly an empty threat. China isn’t going to attack Taiwan, no more than we are going to attack China if it does.

    For one simple reason: China has weapons that we don’t, and they are of the economic, not the *kaboom* variety. We’re not the ones holding the upper hand at that table.

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  112. Tillman says:

    @Just Me:

    Obama would be happy if he could just be a modern Ceasar with a congress for pure show so he didn’t look so emporer like.

    So he’d love the ultimate power if only no one knew he had it? So Obama would wish he had the Ring of Gyges, like (to a cynic) every other person on the planet?!

    Jesus, if your distrust starts at suspecting people of wanting to get away with anything, how do you trust anyone?

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  113. CW says:

    Israel spies on Iran. Big Whoop. Israel has often supplied its Iran intelligence to the USA, because America’s intel network in the Middle East was devastated by CIA documents intercepted during the 1979-80 hostage situation and incidents during 2009-10 where several US spy contacts were arrested and executed in Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Israel’s Iran spying apparently extended to the Iran/USA/European nuke talks. BFD. Israel probably overheard the mullahs laughing at Kerry.

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  114. RaflW says:

    @Jack: Ah, open insurrection by Congress! I’m quite clear now on where you stand. You stand with seditionists and traitors. Enjoy fantasizing that it’s patriotism, but it most certainly is not.

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  115. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I think spying after the US not a violation of international norms, and is therefore acceptable. Using that information to sway American congressmen is also something that, from the Israeli point of view, is part of the game. Where things go of course is when the congressmen didn’t make it stop.

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  116. dennis says:

    @Jack:

    You know what, Jack? I’ve read this entire thread. I’ll say what HL92, mr, et. al. have been too polite to say, higher minds, and all:

    You’re an idiot. If you can’t see that, ultimately, what you are supporting is war with Iran, then you ARE an utterly foolish and senseless person. Typical neo-GOP: can’t see farther than 5 inches in front of its face at the devastating consequences its stupidity inflicts on the rest of us …

    And I’m done.

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  117. Gustopher says:

    How does Israel not know to selectively leak to the Washington Post or somewhere, and then profess deep concern with the content of these selective leaks? What is wrong with these people? “sources familiar with the negotiations”, etc.

    Even when/if it was revealed that the sources were Israeli spies, everyone would have shrugged and said “well of course the Israelis were spying on the talks”. There would be consequences, but it would be more of an embarrassment than anything. There’s only so much blame that they would get for exposing things to the American people.

    This however is an unprecedented affront, and makes the US-Israeli relationship even more partisan than everything else they had done.

    Also, does this mean that the Republicans were literally conspiring with a foreign power? I think it does.

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  118. bill says:

    gawd, you’d think bibi chanted “death to America” or something…..like the current crop of ayatollah’s can’t seem to shun over there. so really, you think iran is going to stop with the nukes? and you probably think the pali’s are going to become docile muslims too? buy a clue from a neighbor if you can’t afford one.

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  119. dazedandconfused says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I think all the people supporting Congress and Israel conspiring to undermine ongoing diplomatic negotiations should come out and say that they want a war with Iran. Seriously…admit that war is what you want. Because there is no other logical outcome here.

    I’ll suggest it may just about driving a wedge between Democrats and their wealthy Jewish donors.

    Boehner hardly ever talks about foreign policy and when he does it’s only bumper sticker-worthy stuff. A person deeply concerned about the topic generally talks about it. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out he actually has no idea he may have put the US irrevocably on the path to war, but instead thinks of it as just another issue which may always be nipped, at will, at the last minute.

    IOW, he’s unaware that assisting the Likud in the process of inculcating the idea this war is necessary and unavoidable in the mind of the American public is a very dangerous game. War snowballs public sentiment far differently than things like budgets do. Each side feels the urge to strike first and hard, accidents happen or are manufactured…

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  120. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    gawd, you’d think bibi chanted “death to America” or something…..like the current crop of ayatollah’s can’t seem to shun over there. so really, you think iran is going to stop with the nukes?

    So, no negotiation because they’re just going to build a nuke anyway?
    Well, I guess that’s the Republican strategy.

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  121. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Did anyone actually think Israel wasn’t going to spy on these meetings?”

    No, but when they send the information to GOP Senators who try to sabotage them, we have a clear case of those Senators acting as covert agents of a foreign power’s intelligence service.

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  122. Barry says:

    @Another Mike: “Who are these officials who are saying these things? How did Israel “penetrate” the negotiations? How did they “eavesdrop” on the talks? Asking friendly countries what’s being discussed is run-of-the-mill nosiness. This story seems to be political fluff about nothing.”

    Read the story in the WSJ.

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  123. Barry says:

    @JKB: “So Israel conducted the same level of spying that all countries do since even as allies they have different interests. Then, horrifyingly, they provided some of that intelligence gathered on the Executive branch of the US government to the branch of the US government with oversight of the Executive branch responsibilities, i.e., the Legislative Branch.”

    Somebody put it this way:

    What would the Republican reaction be if it came to light that the government of France spied on the negotiations between the UK and the Bush regime in the run-up to the Iraq War, and leaked those results to Democratic politicians, who tried to prevent the war?

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  124. Barry says:

    @Mu: “We don’t have any laws in place that would require a US citizen to cry wolf if they receive classified information from a foreign intelligence service?”

    I don’t believe so, but we do have words for citizens who receive such information, and then coordinate their actions with that foreign intelligence service.

    I believe that the word is ‘spy’.

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  125. Barry says:

    @Gavrilo: “So, officials of a foreign government lobbied members of Congress to oppose a deal that is not in the best interests of that foreign government? Wow! Must be the first time that’s ever happened.”

    It’s frikkin’ hysterical to see all of these Proud American Patriots support members of Congress covertly receiving surveillance data from a foreign intelligence service to oppose US governmental negotiations.

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  126. Barry says:

    @Gavrilo: “So, Israel isn’t a good ally unless it subordinates its interests to those of the U.S.? Really?”

    Well, the position of the GOP is that the USA must subordinate it’s interests to those of Israel.

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  127. Barry says:

    @Gavrilo: “If only there was a way for the people of Israel to let the world know whether or not Netanyahu represents their interests.”

    The day on which the right accepts the legitimacy of elections which they lose will be a new day, indeed.

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  128. Barry says:

    @JKB: “So this is more the Israelis were running a NSA like op against a country they are at war with and who have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and the US communications to that enemy were part of the coms swept up.”

    People are not shocked at that, please don’t be an idiot.

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  129. Barry says:

    @Jack: “Every country spies on every other country. It’s expected.”

    You don’t really get the point, do you?

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  130. Barry says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “They’re apologists.”

    No, they are people whose primary loyalty is to a foreign power. And those of them who hold any office in the government of the US are spies.

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  131. Barry says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “It is never acceptable to me when other countries spy on my country.”

    It’s not that, it’s the fact that that foreign country was sending that data to members of the US government, so as to achieve the foreign country’s goals.

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  132. Barry says:

    @CW: “Israel probably overheard the mullahs laughing at Kerry.”

    No, the problem is the behavior of the GOP Congress.

    Please ask somebody to explain the WSJ story to you.

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  133. Barry says:

    @humanoid.panda: “Using that information to sway American congressmen is also something that, from the Israeli point of view, is part of the game. Where things go of course is when the congressmen didn’t make it stop.”

    Yes, just like recruiting Americans as foreign agents (‘spies’) is part of the game, for those governments.

    However, that doesn’t mean that those Americans are in fact spies, and agents of a foreign power.

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  134. Barry says:

    (signing off now – sorry for the long string of replies)

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  135. James P says:

    Thank God Israel spied. How else would we know what Obama/Kerry are giving the store away?

    We should be grateful to Israel for their willingness to blow the whistle and expose Obama? God bless Israel!

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  136. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Hi, James. As promised …

    You claim to have received a PhD in London directed by Jesus Huerta de Soto, addressing “the effects of monetary policy on currency valuation”.

    Dr. Huerta de Soto is not now, nor has he ever been, a faculty member of any educational institution in the UK.

    Further, I am in possession of a concise list, directly supplied to me by Dr. Huerta de Soto, of all 23 doctoral recipients whose programs were directed by him. None of these 23 dissertations address “the effects of monetary policy on currency valuation”.

    More to the point, none of the 23 people on this list are Americans.

    More pointedly, there is no record at LSE’s theses records portal, which catalogs every dissertation received by the school since 1905, of any submission referencing “Huerta” as anything other than an original author or an inline citation. No record of anyone by that name serving as either an advisor or as a committee member for any PhD program at LSE, and there are only 12 mentions of the name, so it’s not a long list to peruse …

    Would you care to make a statement concerning your abject lie?

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  137. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Spamming yet another thread?

    How is this germane to the debt of gratitude we owe to Bibi for alerting us to Obama’s treachery? I fail to see a connection.

    I said everything I had to say about my truthful statements about my educational background and your lies about the same on the other thread.

    If anyone wants to read it they can read it there. I’m not going to troll/spam another thread. It’s all in the Indiana thread if anyone cares to read it.

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  138. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    You have been warned. This accusation will follow you around this forum every time you open your mouth until you either prove the existence of this PhD or admit that you lied.

    Those are your choices.

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  139. James P says:

    @Jack: YOu hit the nail on the head. BHO wants Iran to have nukes — I personally believe he wants Iran to use them on Israel.

    I’m glad that Israel alerted us to BHO’s treachery. Cockroaches do best in the dark. WHen you shine the light on them they scurry. Israel is basically shining light on Obama the cockroach. By exposing him, it makes it more difficult for him to sell the US (and Israel) down the river.

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  140. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    I do however agree that people should read how you have avoided this question on that thread. It’s very informative

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  141. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Warned? Are you threatening me?

    The only person who lied is you. I have lied about NOTHING. YOu lied about receiving an email you did not receive.

    I do agree with you that people can read it on the other thread. I’m not going to spam/troll another thread. If you want to do so, that’s on you. I’m not taking the bait and I’m not engaging with a liar. You lie. I have been completely honest.

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  142. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Then why is there no record of your dissertation?

    I promise you that this will not go away.

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  143. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You’re a lonely pathetic desperate soul with no life. I honestly feel sorry for you.

    I live in the real world. I said everything I have to say on the other thread. If people want to read it they can read your lies (and my truthful claims) on the other thread.

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  144. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Yea, you avoided (and continue to avoid) the question there just like you’re doing here.

    Deflection is the hallmark of the troll. Why is there no record of your dissertation?

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  145. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  146. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    You have not answered the question there, and you will not answer it here.

    Why is there no record of your dissertation?

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  147. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Again,

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  148. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92Feel fee to do what you want. I my control C and my control V keys handy here.

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  149. HarvardLaw92 says:

    And yet you keep replying.

    Directing people here is a disaster for you. I can’t begin to imagine why would, given how badly you have been hauled over the coals there.

    Why is there no record of your dissertation? I can ask that question forever – or until you answer it …

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  150. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m very proficient at hitting control C and control V. Here’s a demonstration:

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  151. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    If only you were so proficient at answering the question (instead of avoiding it):

    Why is there no record of your dissertation at the London School of Economics?

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  152. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Control C

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

    Control V

    Can you read? Here, I’ll try again:

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  153. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Yea, you have consistently dodged, deflected and avoided answering the question there as well.

    At least you’re consistent.

    Why is there no record of your claimed dissertation at the London School of Economics? Is it really that difficult to answer? I would think that a legitimate PhD would want to substantiate the existence of his degree.

    But you keep avoiding it. I wonder why … 😀

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  154. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Geez, you are slow:

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  155. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I can ask that question forever

    And on this thread this is the answer you will get forever:

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  156. HarvardLaw92 says:

    So, in other words, you will not answer it here. You did not answer it there

    You will not answer it on a plane. You will not answer it on a train. You will not answer it here or there – you will not answer it anywhere … 😀

    That’s your choice, but your refusal is damning …

    You have a nice day

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  157. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: IN other words, I am glad that Bibi and Israel warned the Congress that Obama is selling us down the river.

    In other words:

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

    Are you really this unable to read?

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  158. HarvardLaw92 says:

    You haven’t answered the question – Why is there no record of your claimed dissertation at the London School of Economics? – anywhere.

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  159. PJ says:

    @James P:
    Liar Liar. Pants on Fire.

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  160. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Yawn

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  161. HarvardLaw92 says:

    😀 ————> James <———— 😀

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  162. An Interested Party says:

    Israel is basically shining light on Obama the cockroach.

    Oh my, now we’re comparing people to cockroaches…I guess such a low level of discourse should be expected from someone who feels the need to lie about who he is to a bunch of strangers on the internet…

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  163. James P says:

    @An Interested Party: No, I told the truth. Obama is indeed a cockroach.

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  164. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Why isn’t your claimed dissertation listed on LSE’s website?

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  165. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Boring…………..

    I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  166. HarvardLaw92 says:

    And yet you keep replying 😀

    He’ll reply again in 3 … 2 …. 😀

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  167. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: What’s the title of your doctoral dissertation, James P.? At least give us an outline of your research, along the lines that I did.

    I proved that I’m more than a bloated troll claiming rights to unearned credentials. I gave an outline of both my M.A. research and my Ph.D. research. Why can’t you? It’s open-kimono time, dearie. Demonstrate that you actually did something. Show that you in fact know something about economics and research in economics. State something–anything–to show that you know how to use regression analysis. Or the math you used. And don’t try to claim that we can’t possibly understand the concepts. I’ll put up my Baysian understanding against yours anytime.

    Furthermore, why can’t you make a single argument that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a pimply-faced teenager on the internet?

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  168. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    He’s OOC now. No posts in three days.

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  169. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I love that I live rent free inside your head. I haven’t posted anything yet you’re still obsessed with me, Sparky.

    You really do need to get a life. You really are a sad guy.

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  170. wr says:

    @James P: “I love that I live rent free inside your head. I haven’t posted anything yet you’re still obsessed with me, Sparky.”

    You know, if you really want people to believe you’re not Jenos, it would be a good idea not to use two of his catchphrases in the same message.

    Now why don’t you switch to Muchbox and call me a fag or something?

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  171. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Still waiting for an explanation of why there is no record of your claimed PhD at the school you claim to have earned it from.

    You’re a decent troll, but a bad liar.

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  172. HarvardLaw92 says:

    James P says @HarvardLaw92: I love that I live rent free inside your head.

    Now where have I heard that phrase before? Oh yea …

    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …

    WR was right about you, James P / Jenos / Tsar Nicholas / Who knows what else

    No imagination …

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  173. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: 1) I am grateful that Israel is keeping tabs on the negotiations and informing the American people that BH Obama is stabbing us in the back. Thank you Bibi.

    2) You’re the expert on lying.

    3) I’m sorry you are too stupid to know where to look.

    4) Your obsession with me is not healthy. You need to get a life.

    5) I’ve said everything I have to say on the other thread. I have answered all your lies there. People are free to read it there if they are so inclined. I will not assist you in spamming another thread.

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  174. wr says:

    @James P: “Your obsession with me is not healthy. You need to get a life.”

    Annndd…. another one of Jenos’ pet phrases.

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  175. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Since this troll / Jenos sockpuppet is clearly not inclined to either admit his deception or to do the honorable thing and just leave, I propose that henceforth none of us acknowledge him in any way beyond expressing our derision via the downvote.

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