Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu says any US spying on Israel is unacceptable

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the US for allegedly spying on its government.

Files leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, alleged that the agency intercepted the emails of senior Israeli government officials. Monitoring more than 1,000 targets in upwards of 60 countries between 2008 to 2011, US and British intelligence agencies tapped the communications of then Israeli premier Ehud Olmert among other foreign leaders.

"In the close ties between Israel and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us," Netanyahu told legislators in his right-wing Likud party.

"We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity but as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

Israeli cabinet members said that the surveillance revelations was an opportunity to press Washington to free jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst who was sentenced to life in 1987 in the US on spying charges.

"I met now Esther Pollard and updated her on the nonstop efforts to win Jonathan's release," Netanyahu said. "He should have been released long ago. I think this is understood by everyone here and I believe it is also understood by an increasingly larger crowd in the United States."

Obama said that he would reform the NSA's surveillance programmes after recommendations by a specially convened White House panel. "The environment has changed," Obama said. "Just because we can do something doesn't mean we necessarily should."