Archive for the ‘Ben Rhodes’ category

Kerry on Edge as Legacy Crumbles

October 17, 2017

Kerry on Edge as Legacy Crumbles, FrontPage MagazineJoseph Klein, October 17, 2017

Former Secretary of State John Kerry wasted no time condemning President Trump’s decision not to recertify, and to possibly withdraw from, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran that Kerry negotiated on behalf of his boss Barack Obama. President Trump insisted on significant improvements to the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known. The JCPOA’s fundamental flaws that President Trump wants fixed include Iran’s ability to block unfettered international inspections, the wiggle room that Iran is exploiting to continue developing and testing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and the sunset clause on nuclear enrichment that would provide Iran a clear path to becoming a nuclear armed state after the current restrictions are lifted. Obama and Kerry had promised that these issues would be dealt with satisfactorily before agreeing to the final terms of the JCPOA. Instead they caved to Iranian pressure in order to get the deal done.

Now that President Trump is trying to clean up the mess Obama and Kerry left him, Kerry has the gall to label President Trump’s decision a “reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology” and to accuse the Trump administration of “lying to the American people.” It was the Obama administration that recklessly abandoned the facts in pressing ahead with the deal. The Obama administration lied to the American people, abandoning its own promises to ensure that the deal contained ironclad protections. Moreover, all that President Trump has done so far is to return the JCPOA to Congress for review. Had Obama followed the Constitution and submitted the JCPOA to the Senate as a treaty in the first place, the JCPOA in its present form almost certainly would not have been approved. Congress should now have the opportunity to revisit the JCPOA to determine whether the protections that the Obama administration promised are working as advertised. Congress should also consider whether time limits on Iran’s commitments continue to make sense in light of what we are now experiencing with Iran’s nuclear technology collaborator, North Korea. It bought time to turn into a full-fledged nuclear power under our noses.

Kerry had promised that the Iranian regime would be prohibited from testing ballistic missiles. This turned out to be a lie. After the JCPOA was finalized, with no such prohibition included, Iran continued to test such missiles. The Obama administration’s response was that the missiles had become a separate issue, to be dealt with under a new United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA.  The new resolution replaced clear prohibitions imposed on Iran’s ballistic missile program with a weak declaration in an annex that simply “calls upon” Iran not to undertake any activity such as development and test launches related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons for eight years.

Iran has tested several ballistic missiles during the last two years, including two Qadr H missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” emblazoned on the sides. The commander of Iran’s Army, Major General Ataollah Salehi, had told reporters just a month before the launch of those missiles that Iran was “neither paying any attention to the resolutions against Iran, nor implementing them. This is not a breach of the JCPOA.”

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin, spurning requests from Obama administration officials to impose sanctions against Iran under the Security Council resolution, asserted that the Iranian missile test did not violate the resolution. “A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call, you can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call,” the Russian ambassador said. In short, the JCPOA did not cover the missile tests and the replacement UN Security Council resolution that did mention the missiles is toothless.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN, during an interview aired on April 6, 2015,  that under the deal’s terms then still being negotiated, “you will have anywhere, anytime, 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has.” Rhodes claimed that “if we see a site that we need to inspect on a military facility, we can get access to that site and inspect it. So if it’s a suspicious site that we believe is related to its nuclear efforts, we can get access and inspect that site through the IAEA.” This was another lie. After the JCPOA was finalized in July 2015, Rhodes shamelessly denied that anytime, anywhere inspections were ever considered as part of the negotiations. “We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere,” Rhodes said on July 14, 2015.

The JCPOA’s supporters, including Kerry, have made much of the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on several occasions verified Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, keeping its stock of low-enriched uranium below the limit set forth in the JCPOA and not pursuing further construction of the Arak reactor. Iran was found to have slightly exceeded the limit on its stock of heavy water, but has remedied the problem to the IAEA’s satisfaction. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano reiterated in a statement he issued on October 9th that Iran has remained in compliance with its JCPOA commitments.

The problem, as any clear-eyed observer of the process recognizes, is that the IAEA relies on Iran for self-inspection of certain sites that the regime does not want the IAEA to inspect freely on its own. IAEA inspectors have avoided examining military sites it knows exists and has no reliable way of tracking undeclared sites. The IAEA’s explanation for not visiting any of Iran’s known military sites is that it had “no reason to ask” for access. Evidently, the IAEA is supposed to block out the fact that Iran had conducted tests relevant to nuclear bomb detonations at a military site before the JCPOA’s finalization in 2015. The IAEA should just pretend that such tests could not possibly happen again.

“Nobody is allowed to visit Iran’s military sites,” said Iran’s Head of Strategic Research Center at the Expediency Council and adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati. Intimidation works. The IAEA knows not to ask.

As to the JCPOA’s sunset provisions, the Obama administration lied about that too. Kerry claimed on September 2, 2015 that the JCPOA “never sunsets. There’s no sunset in this agreement.”

This month Kerry has resorted to parsing words. He claims the phrase ‘sunset provisions’ is a “misnomer,” before then defending the JCPOA’s time limits. “We were comfortable because the cap on Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile remains in place until 2030,” Kerry wrote in an article published in the Washington Post late last month. In other words, let’s just kick the can down the road and hope for a more reasonable Iranian regime in 13 years that would agree to extend the time limits. In the meantime, Kerry advises us not to worry. Kerry declared, “15 or 25 years from now, we still have the same military options we have today.”

John Kerry has obviously learned nothing from the North Korean fiasco, which resulted from years of phony agreements with the rogue regime and so-called “strategic patience.” The United States clearly does not have the same military options today to deal with a nuclear armed North Korea as it did 23 years ago when former President Bill Clinton decided not to use military force to stamp out North Korea’s nuclear program at its inception. Instead, Clinton started us down the primrose path of naïve diplomacy with a duplicitous regime that now is on the verge of being able to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear warheads delivered by intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is precisely because North Korea’s actions over the last 23 years have proven that making concessions to a rogue regime in order to obtain denuclearization commitments is so dangerous that President Trump does not want to make the same mistake with Iran.

America’s European allies are also upset with President Trump for refusing to recertify the deal and threatening to pull out if certain conditions are not met. British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement last Friday praising the JCPOA and its implementation. They said that the nuclear deal with Iran was “the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPOA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.”

Perhaps these European leaders should remember their own history. Appeasement through phony deals with a rogue dictatorship does not work, as proven by the infamous Munich Pact signed by British and French Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler seventy-nine years ago.

DeSantis: House Intel Committee Has Brought in Some ‘Big Names’ to Answer Questions About Leaks

July 16, 2017

DeSantis: House Intel Committee Has Brought in Some ‘Big Names’ to Answer Questions About Leaks, PJ Media, Debra Heine, July 16, 2617

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said that the House Intelligence Committee has already brought in some “big names” — “more than the press knows” — to answer questions about leaks of classified information to reporters.

When asked by Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC Saturday morning whether the committee was planning to call up Obama’s former “foreign policy guru,” Ben Rhodes, DeSantis said that he’s spoken to the committee’s chairman, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, about Rhodes but that he would defer to Gowdy to identify people of interest in the leak investigation.

DeSantis, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon last week that President Trump needs to purge Obama holdovers still working in the federal government.

DeSantis told the Beacon that “the holdovers and their allies outside the White House are responsible for an unprecedented series of national security leaks aimed at damaging the Trump administration’s national security apparatus.”

He singled out Obama’s chief propagandist, Ben Rhodes, as the person responsible for most of the leaks and called on Congress to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others to make sure they are looking into the situation.

DeSantis told Hewitt that he has drafted a letter to send to Sessions, asking that he investigate the leaks.

So I’ve prepared a letter. We’re going to be sending that next week, I imagine I’ll have a number of my colleagues joining it, asking the Justice Department to look into all these things, but then report back to us whether they are doing it or not, because, Hugh, you know, you’re very knowledgeable in national security.

We have certain intelligence authorities that are coming up for review this year. And if you don’t have anyone, say, being prosecuted for the Michael Flynn leaks, that was FISA material, then you’re not going to be able to do things like reauthorize 702 of the FISA statute, which is due by the end of the year. So I think if there’s no action being taken, I think it actually has a big effect on what we’re able to do in Congress.

And I’m somebody, I want to empower our intelligence agencies. I think it’s very important. But it’s very difficult to make that case to the American people if that information is then being used for domestic political warfare.

Asked if he would call Rhodes in to testify, DeSantis replied:

I’ve talked to Chairman Gowdy about it, and remember, they are doing things on the Intelligence Committee, and they’re doing a lot more than what the press knows in terms of some of the people that they have brought in. And they’ve brought in some pretty big names that I’m not authorized to say. So I want to defer to his judgment about whether that would be more appropriate in terms of the leak investigation that they’re doing on the Intelligence Committee. But I would like to bring him in to talk to him about it, because I want to figure out how all this information was getting out from the FISA intercept on…

DeSantis differentiated between the leaks that are coming from Obama holdovers in the Trump administration and standard “whistleblower” leaks.  These leaks, he argued, are an attack on the president.

“It’s not just people are leaking because they think something was wrong with the government and they want some sunlight,” DeSantis explained. “But this is concerted leaks designed to attack the sitting president. So I think the character of the leaks are different, and I think Comey’s leaks are part of that bushel.”

He cited as an example how conversations Trump has had with a foreign leaders have gone through the National Security Council and somehow ended up on the front page of the newspaper.

“And so we’ve gotten lot of information saying look, there’s only so many places that would come from,” the congressman said. “And the Obama holdover working with Rhodes, that’s a place we’ve been encouraged to look. So I want to look at that, because I think that it’s distorted the president’s ability to simply conduct foreign relations if there’s going to be selective leaking of his conversations with foreign leaders in ways that are damaging to him or at least purporting to damage him. That’s not the way we want our government to function.”

To answer his final question, Hewitt called on DeSantis to use his “prosecutorial chops”:

“If you had to guess who was going to get indicted, if anyone – Donald Trump Jr., James Comey or Ben Rhodes — what would your guess be?” he asked.

DeSantis answered: “I want to know what are in those Comey memos and see whether there’s classified information. I mean, I don’t think Donald Trump Jr. is going to get indicted. I think he had a meeting. I don’t think a criminal offense was committed. In terms of the political judgment, I think that’s fair to criticize. But I don’t think that there was a crime committed there.”

He forgot to mention Rhodes.

 

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders

April 3, 2017

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, April 3, 2017

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency

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Journalist/activist Mike Cernovich reports that former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice obtained intelligence reports showing the identities of innocent Americans who incidentally spoke to foreign officials under security sweeps for spying or intelligence activities. Under U.S. law, U.S. persons are protected from such disclosure, which could be dry-cleaners asking envoys to pick up their laundry or wrong number phone messages spilling their guts about their mothers-in-law. If such U.S. persons get swept up in surveillance, they are protected. But only if they remain ‘masked,’ which is the law of the land.

Cernovich says the White House Counsel’s office has confirmed that Rice was one of the few officials with the authority to make the requests to unmask the innocent Americans caught up in surveillance dragnets. There was no national security reason to do so, but she did. It makes a lot of sense if the aim is political, however, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer has pointed out that their goal was ‘to leak stuff.’ Based on White House logs, she did, during the transition back when angry miserable Obama White House officials frowned in a group photo for the cameras.

The White House counsel’s office disclosed these logs to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who has been as responsible a steward of America’s secrets as anyone (and said nothing). But it would mean that Rice had to have been responsible for the illegal leaking to the press of the legitimate activities of people like her NSC successor Mike Flynn, for political rather than national security purposes. This would be true whether she did it herself or dispatched a flunky like fellow NSC official Ben Rhodes or Joe Biden’s NSC man Colin Kahl to execute the dirty-tricks skullduggery.

It’s par for the course. Rice was the speaker of the infamous phony White House talking points on why four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were slaughtered in Benghazi on 9/11/12, repeatedly stating for the press that the attack on the U.S. compound was the act of a spontaneous crowd that got out of control over a video, and not the pre-planned, lethally executed al-Qaida terrorist attack it was. After that, she went onto support the admittedly phony narratives about the Iran Deal, which her buddy Ben Rhodes, a creative writing major, cooked up out of thin air, just as he did the Benghazi talking points.

Cernovich reports that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman (caught on Wikileaks for being in the tank with Obama) had the information, and chose to sit on it to protect the former president.

But based on the White House counsel act, the news nevertheless got out. The story meshes well with what FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, in response to Nunes’ request for information on leaks last March 20. Comey told the committee that only 20 people would have had access to the names of innocent Americans caught up in the spy dragnet during the transition. Rice was one of them.

Rice, like Rhodes, has the farthest of far-left backgrounds, and the highest of malice against the incoming president. Rhodes never was able to pass a background check to obtain a security clearance and continues to mock and berate Trump & Co, as if he thinks he owned the job and now they took it. Another coeval at NSC, Colin Kahl, who was attached to Joe Biden, seems to have laid out the diabolical plans for picking off Trump’s lieutenants one by one. The tweets he issues are unbelievable, here is one:

Colin Kahl‏ @ColinKahl

The 2nd essential step is purging or marginalizing the “Axis of Ideologues” in the West Wing: Bannon, Miller, Anton, Gorka, KT McFarland.14/

6:21 AM – 11 Mar 2017

With a pattern of malice and mishandled security information centered around NSC dead-enders, the one thing we can see is that there is a coterie of illegal leakers who will compromise national security to enact their political aims.

Devin Nunes pointedly asked Comey whether he knew that illegally leaking national security secrets was a jailtime offense. The FBI director said yes.

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency.

 

Obama Appoints Anti-Israel Adviser to Holocaust Museum Council

January 18, 2017

Obama Appoints Anti-Israel Adviser to Holocaust Museum Council, The Jewish PressDavid Israel, January 18, 2017

(Don’t be alarmed. It could be worse. Obama could, for example, have appointed his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. — DM)

ben-rhodes-and-president-obama-on-board-air-force-oneBen Rhodes and President Obama on board Air Force One
Photo Credit: Pete Souza – White House, via Wikimedia

Rhodes recently raised many eyebrows when he enlightened reporters about the “tens of thousands” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “Again, I think the question is going to be when history looks at these types of decisions, when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution, incitement to violence on the Palestinian side.”

And so, in his characteristic manner, President Obama appointed a man with serious integrity issues to be on the board of an institution that deals daily with attacks on its veracity by forces looking to denigrate and deny the memory of the Holocaust.

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President Barack Obama appointed White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to a post on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s council, the White House Reported Tuesday. Rhodes was probed by Congress over revelations that he served in his sensitive position as the president’s most trusted advisor despite the fact that he had not qualified for security clearances based on FBI background checks in 2008.

Rhodes, the son of an Episcopalian father from Texas and a Jewish mother, has been attacked by Jewish groups and media outlets over his role in selling the Iran nuclear to the American public. Rhodes admitted to misleading reporters regarding the actual timeline of US negotiations with Iran, saying he used young, inexperienced reporters to create an “echo chamber” in order to sway public opinion (and Democrats on the Hill) in favor of the deal.

Rhodes recently raised many eyebrows when he enlightened reporters about the “tens of thousands” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “Again, I think the question is going to be when history looks at these types of decisions, when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution, incitement to violence on the Palestinian side.”

And so, in his characteristic manner, President Obama appointed a man with serious integrity issues to be on the board of an institution that deals daily with attacks on it veracity by forces looking to denigrate and deny the memory of the Holocaust.

Rhodes’ appointment to the Holocaust museum’s council could raise eyebrows in the Jewish community, which has clashed with Rhodes and the White House over the administration’s outreach to Iran and push to secure the contested nuclear agreement.

Or, as Obama put it in a statement: “I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles. I know they will serve the American people well.” He was referring, besides Rhodes, to Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice whom the president pawned off on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Board of Trustees.

White House Echo Chamber Architect to Keynote Pro-Iran Lobby Conference

August 25, 2016

White House Echo Chamber Architect to Keynote Pro-Iran Lobby Conference, Washington Free Beacon, August 25, 2016

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. The White House is working to contain the damage caused by a magazine profile of one of President Barack Obama's top aides. In a blog post published late Sunday, May 8, 2016, Rhodes said the public relations campaign he created to sell the Iran nuclear deal was intended only "to push out facts." Rhodes says outside groups that participated "believed in the merits of the deal." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Ben Rhodes (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The Sept. 25 event also is being co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic group that has been criticized for funding anti-Israel activities and organizations that support boycotts of the Jewish state. The fund bankrolls some of the leading backers of the global BDS movement against Israel, which has raised concerns among some that the administration is breaking its promises to oppose this movement.

The NIAC event is being viewed as another sign that the White House is seeking to boost these organizations in return for their efforts to push the nuclear deal and support the pro-Iran “echo chamber.”

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The senior White House official who bragged about creating a pro-Iran “echo chamber” to mislead Americans about last summer’s nuclear agreement is scheduled to keynote a conference sponsored by an organization that has long been accused of acting as a pro-Tehran lobbying front.

Ben Rhodes, a top national security adviser to President Obama, is slated to be the keynote speaker at an upcoming gathering hosted by the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which played a key role in bolstering the nuclear agreement and has long operated under suspicion that it acts as Tehran’s lobbying shop.

NIAC

Rhodes has been engulfed in a growing scandal following the revelation that he enlisted a roster of journalists and experts to spin the public in favor of the deal.

Outside organizations such as NIAC and the Ploughshares Fund, which is co-sponsoring the upcoming conference, were cited as key parts of the White House’s effort to mislead the public about the deal.

The Sept. 25 event also is being co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic group that has been criticized for funding anti-Israel activities and organizations that support boycotts of the Jewish state. The fund bankrolls some of the leading backers of the global BDS movement against Israel, which has raised concerns among some that the administration is breaking its promises to oppose this movement.

The NIAC event is being viewed as another sign that the White House is seeking to boost these organizations in return for their efforts to push the nuclear deal and support the pro-Iran “echo chamber.”

“Pro-Iran lobbies like NIAC were helpful to Ben Rhodes when he created his echo chamber to sell the Iran nuclear deal and the Iran money-for-hostages deal,” said one senior foreign policy consultant who has worked with Congress on the Iran deal. “It’s only fair that Rhodes would return the favor by keynoting NIAC’s conference. It’s not clear what he’ll talk about more: Iran developing its nuclear program, Iran expanding across the region, or Iran seizing more American hostages including those with close links to NIAC itself.”

The NIAC conference also will be attended by Rep. Jared Huffman (D., Calif.), an Iran deal backer, according to an invitation for the event circulated by NIAC.

NIAC makes note of Rhodes’ efforts to deepen diplomacy with the Islamic Republic in its invitation.

The event’s top billed sponsors include Ploughshares and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Ploughshares, a longtime funder of pro-Iran organizations and media outlets, has found itself on defense in recent months following disclosure of its role in Rhodes’ “echo chamber.”

Ploughshares funded writers and organizations in order to create a network of Iran deal “validators” who could influence public opinion at the White House’s behest.

Most recently, the Washington Free Beacon disclosed that a Washington Post contributor who touted the administration’s $400 million payment to Iran had been funded by Ploughshares. Neither the Post nor the writer disclosed this fact.

Ploughshares also moved money to National Public Radio to influence its coverage of the Iran deal.

Rosen: Obama Administration Extensively Deceived Public, Media to Sell Iran Nuclear Deal

May 10, 2016

Rosen: Obama Administration Extensively Deceived Public, Media to Sell Iran Nuclear Deal, Fox News via YouTube, May 9, 2016

(The video is about the secret bilateral negotiations between the Obama administration and Iranian officials. Please see also, Obama, the Iran Scam, Ben Rhodes and Public Credulity. — DM)

Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal

May 5, 2016

Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal, Weekly Standard, Lee Smith, May 5, 2016

It’s hardly any wonder that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has a “mind meld” with his boss, the president. According to a David Samuels New York Times Magazine article to be published Sunday and already posted to the website, Rhodes, like Barack Obama, is contemptuous of “the American foreign-policy establishment.” What Obama calls the “Washington playbook” dictating the sorts of responses available to American policymakers, Rhodes calls the “Blob.”

The Blob includes “editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker,” etc. It also encompasses, according to Rhodes, Obama’s former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and the administration’s first defense secretary Robert Gates. Presumably Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief and CIA director, who goes on the record to criticize Rhodes and the president, is also part of the Blob, alongside “other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East.” In other words, the emotion driving the administration’s foreign policy is contempt—contempt for allies, colleagues, and the generations of American policymakers who built the post-WWII international order, ensuring relative global stability, and peace and prosperity at home.

Samuels’s profile is an amazing piece of writing about the Holden Caulfield of American foreign policy. He’s a sentimental adolescent with literary talent (Rhodes published one short story before his mother’s connections won him a job in the world of foreign policy), and high self regard, who thinks that everyone else is a phony. Those readers who found Jeffrey Goldberg’s picture of Obama in his March Atlantic profile refreshing for the president’s willingness to insult American allies publicly will be similarly cheered here by Rhodes’s boast of deceiving American citizens, lawmakers, and allies over the Iran deal. Conversely, those who believe Obama risked American interests to take a cheap shot at allies from the pedestal of the Oval Office will be appalled to see Rhodes dancing in the end zone to celebrate the well-packaged misdirections and even lies—what Rhodes and others call a “narrative”—that won Obama his signature foreign policy initiative.

Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press.

As Rhodes admits, it’s not that hard to shape the narrative. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

In Rhodes’s “narrative” about the Iran deal, negotiations started when the ostensibly moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected president, providing an opening for the administration to reach out in friendship. In reality, as Samuels gets administration officials to admit, negotiations began when “hardliner” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still president. It was Rhodes who framed the Iran deal as a choice between peace and war, and it was Rhodes who set up a messaging unit to sell the deal that created an “echo chamber” in the press. “[Al Monitor reporter] Laura Rozen was my RSS feed,” says Tanya Somanader, the 31-year-old who managed @TheIranDeal twitter feed. “She would just find everything and retweet it.”

“In the spring of last year,” Samuels writes:

legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.

It’s not clear whether or not Panetta supported the deal, but he admits he was wrong about Obama’s willingness to take all measures to stop Iran from getting a bomb.

As secretary of defense, he tells me, one of his most important jobs was keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, from launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ ” Panetta recalls. “And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.”

Panetta stops.

“But would you make that same assessment now?” I ask him.

“Would I make that same assessment now?” he asks. “Probably not.”

Rhodes tells Samuels that Don DeLillo is his favorite novelist. “That’s the only person I can think of who has confronted these questions of, you know, the individual who finds himself negotiating both vast currents of history and a very specific kind of power dynamics,” he tells Samuels. “And that’s what it’s like to work in the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus in 2016.”

So that’s it. For the last seven years the American public has been living through a postmodern narrative crafted by an extremely gifted and unspeakably cynical political operative whose job is to wage digital information campaigns designed to dismantle a several-decade old security architecture while lying about the nature of the Iranian regime. No wonder Americans feel less safe—they are.