Even though U.S. president Barack Obama promised to end the eavesdropping on highly-positioned officials among US allies, which was revealed during the Edward Snowden events, it seems that some officials are still under close watch by the NSA.
Among those is the prime minister of U.S.’s biggest ally – Israel. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the White House decided to keep certain allies under close watch, including Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of NATO ally Turkey. Wall Street Journal quoted a senior U.S. official:
“Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” a senior U.S. official said, using Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname.
The spying on Netanyahu ruined the relations between the two countries to some extent, after it was uncovered that Netanyahu tried to sabotage the nuclear arms agreement the U.S. was trying to achieve with Iran.
“The U.S., pursuing a nuclear arms agreement with Iran at the time, captured communications between Mr. Netanyahu and his aides that inflamed mistrust between the two countries and planted a political minefield at home when Mr. Netanyahu later took his campaign against the deal to Capitol Hill.”
The eavesdropping revealed how Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes.
Current and former U.S. officials agree – Obama kept monitoring Netanyahu because it served a “compelling national security purpose.”