Iran Deal Makes Trump’s Russia ‘Collusion’ Look Like Child’s Play
By David Harsanyi
December 19, 2017
We don’t know how Robert Mueller’s investigation into
the Trump administration will play out, but if it’s half as bad the Obama
administration’s coddling of terror-supporting Iran, it should be a massive
Empowering terrorist groups. Paying ransom that emboldened
our enemies to kidnap Americans. Creating an echo chamber that undermined a free
press. Releasing spies, terrorists, and criminals who assisted not only our
enemy and her terrorist proxies, but Russia as well. In the Iran deal, we have
clear-cut case of the United States handing over extensive concessions to a
nation that openly aimed to destabilize our interests, attack our allies, and
kill our people — for nothing in return. It’s worse than anything
we know about “Russian collusion.”
On Sunday night, Politico sent an email previewing an
another investigative article alleging that the Obama administration had
“derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by
the Iranian-backed, Bashar al-Assad-allied, Justice Department-designated
terrorist organization Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the
This email dramatically underplays the outlet’s
reporting. While it looks like the Obama administration neutralized efforts to
stop a terrorist group from funding its operations through criminal enterprises
in the United States — which should be a major scandal itself — according
to Josh Meyer’s source-heavy reporting, it also decided to let a top
Hezbollah operative named Ali Fayad, who had not only been indicted in U.S.
courts for planning to kill American government employees but whom agents
believed reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a key supplier of
weapons to Syria and Iraq, to skate free.
You can, I’m sure, imagine what the reaction would be if
this story had Trump’s administration rather than Obama’s secretly released
Putin’s Middle East arms dealer?
“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic
decision,” David Asher, an on-the-record source and Defense Department
official charged with tracking Hezbollah’s worldwide criminal enterprise, told
Politico. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well
supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.” (Read
the whole thing.)
This is hardly surprising, considering what we already know
President Obama was willing to do to help Iran. Reminder: In his January 2016 speech
announcing the lifting of sanctions, the president claimed that as a
“reciprocal humanitarian gesture” the United States would release a number
of Iranian-born “civilians” who “were not charged with terrorism or any
This too was a lie. Far from mere “civilians,” the
administration was releasing Iranian spies whom its own Justice Department had
tagged as threats to national security. Of the 14 innocent souls freed on
humanitarian grounds, at least one had sought weaponry for Iran’s proxy,
Hezbollah. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for “conspiring to
supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware.” Then there was Seyed
Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with participating in a conspiracy
to procure “thousands of parts with nuclear applications” for Iran — which
supposedly didn’t need them — through China.
In addition to this, according to officials, the Obama
administration was “slow-walking”
investigations against Iranian spies here in the United States and efforts to
extradite suspects who were in the custody of allies.
It’s clear that the Iran deal remained President
Obama’s predominant concern in his second term. It seems increasingly
plausible that Obama was hamstrung to act in Syria by the overriding need to
avoid upsetting the Iranians (and Russians). Putin, lest we forget, was a big
fan of the Iranian deal.
The question is, what wouldn’t the Obama administration
do to save the Iran deal? When the Iranians released American hostages,
including Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, Secretary of State John
Kerry claimed it was due to “the relationships forged and the diplomatic
channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks.” In actuality, the
Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million $1.7
billion worth of cash as ransom to obtain the release of four Americans so
as not to derail the Iranian deal.
And because all of it was above board and was absolutely
not ransom, it was sent in wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs, and
other currencies on an unmarked cargo plane. “We do not pay ransom for
hostages,” Obama claimed.
But State Department spokesman John Kirby later acknowledged that Iran’s
release of the hostages was “contingent” upon the $400 million cash payment.
Soon after, Iran began taking hostages again.
Of course, the administration didn’t want the American
people to know any of this. Iran’s leading booster here at home, Ben Rhodes,
set up a team of White House staffers whose entire job it was to promote a false
narrative about the deal. “We created an echo chamber,” he
bragged to The New York Times magazine. “They [independent experts] were
saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
Other staffers bragged about how easy it was to hoodwink
reporters, although that presupposes many of these reporters weren’t open to
playing along. This might not be as offensive to modern-day resistance
truth-seekers as an ill-mannered Trump tweet, but the damage to media’s
credibility and truth was far more consequential.
Many of Obama’s foot soldiers — now-sneering podcasters,
media personalities, and lobbyists —
smeared (or perhaps
spied on) anyone who had reservations about the deal by pushing the
ludicrous false choice that it was either Obama’s way or war. Many intimated
that anyone who opposed giving Iran everything it wanted for merely living by
deals it had already signed had
dual loyalties. Obama preposterously claimed that those who were against the
deal had made common cause with Iranian hardliners. They tried to
smear Politico’s Meyer, who is by every conceivable standard more
the pretend sentinels of journalism.
Despite what many Americans seem to believe, being
favorably predisposed towards Russia, though bad policy and bad thinking,
isn’t illegal. But as friendly as Trump feels towards Putin, has there been an
administration since World War II that’s shown more deference to an outright
enemy of the United States as the previous administration did towards Iran. One
administration’s sins do not erase the other’s, but at this point the
Iranian deal should be a colossal scandal. That it’s not tells us a lot about
what’s wrong with American journalism and political discourse.