The Israeli spies were told to find incriminating dirt on Obama officials who negotiated the Iran nuke deal.
On Saturday, the Guardian reported,
“Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.”
The Israeli spies were told to dig up dirt on two Obama officials for the purpose of discrediting the Iran deal.
According to the Guardian, Trump officials contacted the firm and directed it to find compromising personal information on Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser to Obama, and Colin Kahl, Vice President Biden’s former national security adviser.
Trump has a deadline of May 12 to renew American involvement in the deal. So he ordered the “dirty ops” mission to find information he could use to undermine the agreement.
“Jack Straw, who as foreign secretary was involved in earlier efforts to restrict Iranian weapons, said: “These are extraordinary and appalling allegations but which also illustrate a high level of desperation by Trump and [the Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, not so much to discredit the deal but to undermine those around it.””
One high-ranking British official told the Guardian, “It’s bloody outrageous to do this. The whole point of negotiations is to not play dirty tricks like this.”
A source with details of the “dirty tricks campaign” said, “The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.”
The Israeli spies were told to dig into the personal lives, relationships, and political careers of Rhodes and Kahl to find any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists. They were also looking for any evidence that Rhodes and Kahl benefited personally or politically from the peace deal.
“Investigators were also apparently told to contact prominent Iranian Americans as well as pro-deal journalists – from the New York Times, MSNBC television, the Atlantic, Vox website and Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper among others – who had frequent contact with Rhodes and Kahl in an attempt to establish whether they had violated any protocols by sharing sensitive intelligence. They are believed to have looked at comments made by Rhodes in a 2016 New York Times profile in which he admitted relying on inexperienced reporters to create an “echo chamber” that helped sway public opinion to secure the deal. It is also understood that the smear campaign wanted to establish if Rhodes was among those who backed a request by Susan Rice, Obama’s final national security adviser, to unmask the identities of Trump transition officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets.”
Rhodes said that he was unaware of this move by Trump but he was not surprised. “I would say that digging up dirt on someone for carrying out their professional responsibilities in their positions as White House officials is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do,” he said.