Former Senior US Official: White House Launched ‘Venomous Whisper Campaign’ Against Netanyahu to Sell Iran Nuclear Deal (VIDEO)
As part of the Obama administration’s strategy to sell the Iran nuclear deal, the White House launched a smear campaign against one of the deal’s biggest critics, Israel’s prime minister, a former policy official told Congress on Tuesday.
According to the congressional testimony of Michael Doran — Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former senior director in the National Security Council (NSC) in the administration of President George W. Bush — the White House initiated a “whisper campaign” against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cast him “as the villain of the Middle East peace process, an arch-nationalist with unseemly ties to the Republican party who refuses to make the necessary compromises to bring about an historic reconciliation with the Palestinians,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Doran’s testimony came in response to a controversial New York Times Magazine profile on White House national security advisor Ben Rhodes, who gloated about how he was able to deceive the public to garner support for last July’s nuclear agreement. Rhodes admitted to creating an “echo chamber” among susceptible journalists, policy experts and officials to spin the White House’s narrative.
According to Doran, the Obama administration engaged in a strategy of “deception” in order to create a “detente” with Iran. Had the White House been open and honest about the true nature of the agreement, there would have been significant public backlash, Doran said.
In Doran’s estimation, Rhodes’s behavior is part of a greater problem: the growing size and power of the NSC. “Rhodes’s war room is not an isolated problem, it is symptomatic of an NSC that, according to all three of Obama’s former secretaries of defense, has grown imperial in both size and ethos. In order to protect our system of checks and balances, Congress must take action to school the White House in a healthy respect for republican values.”
Rhodes himself was also called to testify before Congress but was blocked by the White House, which invoked executive privilege. In a letter sent to the committee, the White House said “the appearance of a senior presidential adviser before Congress threatens the independence and autonomy of the President.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, took to Twitter on Monday to criticize the White House’s decision after being informed that Rhodes wouldn’t be testifying. “[Rhodes] Talks to reporters and his ‘echo chamber’ but not Congress,” he tweeted. “Disappointing but typical.”
On Sunday, Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, denied allegations that the administration lied to the public and manipulated the media to sell the nuclear deal. “There was nothing hidden. There was no effort to – or reality of misleading,” she said during an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.
“There is nothing that Ben or the president or I or anybody who was involved in explaining the Iran deal to the American public said that wasn’t factually correct,” she said. “The notion that there was any ball to hide or spin to put on it, I think, is really misguided.”
Watch Doran’s testimony below: