This “is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.”
Andrea Germanos, staff writer
US President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
An ethics expert is declaring the Trump team “out of control” following a bombshell report by the UK’s Observer that aides for the sitting president hired Israeli spies to dig up dirt on two officials in the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.
“The idea,” said an unnamed source familiar the campaign, “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 individuals targeted in the “dirty ops” campaign were Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security advisor for strategic communications for former President Barack Obama, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama and national security advisor to former Vice President Biden. Neither had known of the campaign, journalists Mark Townsend and Julian Borger write.
Rhodes, for his part, told the Observer, “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.”
The contact with the Israeli private intelligence agency took place last May, just after Trump’s visit to Israel, the second stop of his first trip abroad as president. The line of attack include was to get information on “personal relationships, any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists, and if they had benefited personally or politically from the peace deal,” the news outlet reports.