Who Leaked the Obama-Khamenei Letter?

For an administration that has put so much emphasis on hunting down "leakers," it’s pretty amazing how leaky Washington gets when it comes to matters of concern to the Israelis. Take the recent Wall Street Journal story on President’s Obama’s alleged letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. How did the Journal get their hands on it? All we get in the story is that the information comes to us via "people briefed on the correspondence." Briefed by whom?

Ha’aretz doesn’t exactly say they got it from Israel’s spies in the US, but then again the Israeli daily didn’t really have to:

"Israel learned independently about the secret letter U.S. President Barack Obama sent to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to a Jerusalem official who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

"The official said Israel learned about the letter shortly after it was sent. The information arrived indirectly, through channels that are not part of Israel’s official contacts with the American administration."

Israeli spying on and in the US has always been a major sore spot in the "special relationship," and with relations worsening it has probably gotten way past the point described by the GAO in a 1996 report, which said Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally." More recently, a Newsweek report by Jeff Stein averred:

"Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony ‘very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.’ Another staffer called it ‘damaging.’" 

Stein’s reporting came off of legislative and diplomatic efforts to get Israel in on a program dispensing with visas for visitors from some countries, but the campaign – initiated by Israel’s many friends in Congress – hit a roadblock when the intelligence community testified as to the security implications of such an agreement. Israel’s entry into the program, they feared, would unleash a flood of Israeli spooks on American soil. And the threat doesn’t just come from Israeli nationals….

Remember when FBI agents raided the Washington headquarters of AIPAC, the Jewish state’s powerful lobbying organization – twice? They did it because they suspected AIPAC of maintaining an extensive spy network inside the US government – and they had good reason for their suspicions.

Remember the Larry Franklin-Steven Rosen spy ring? Franklin, a top Pentagon analyst specializing in Iran, handed highly sensitive US secrets over to two AIPAC officials, who handed them over to their Israeli handlers. Franklin was caught red-handed, and the FBI wired him up and gathered evidence against top AIPAC lobbying honcho Steve Rosen and his sidekick, Keith Weissman. The government dropped the case the minute the Obama gang took charge, however, claiming that the judge had made it impossible for the prosecution to proceed without revealing sensitive information.

Rosen-Weissman were after the inside skinny on the White House’s attitude toward attacking Iran, and no doubt the Israelis are even more interested in the subject now. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already announced his campaign to derail the ongoing US-Iran talks currently taking place in Oman, and in Washington over the weekend the latest Israeli fifth column – the newly-organized Israeli-American Council – featured oligarchs Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson talking openly about bombing Iran and buying the American media in order to further Israel’s cause.

Not since the heyday of the American Communist Party have we seen a foreign-backed group with such enormous clout in this country – although, unlike the commies, the Israelis and their American tools make no effort to hide it. Indeed, they flaunt it, as if to say: "See, you Americans, we can lead you by the nose!"

Saban is a major donor to the Democratic party and is expected to pour multi-millions into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: Adelson, who bankrolled the 2010 Republican campaign to the tune of $100 million, is reportedly gearing up to spend even more in 2016.

So what did the letter say, anyway? According to the leakers, Obama’s letter promised aid in a mutual US-Iranian effort to quash the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) if Tehran agreed to a deal on Iran’s nuclear program by the November 24 deadline. The US denies this, and I’m inclined to believe our government for once. It seems highly unlikely Washington would advance such a radical (i.e. sane) idea no matter how large the deadline for a nuke agreement looms. That deadline has been extended before and could easily be extended again.

So we don’t really know what Obama’s letter to Khamenei said, and will probably never know: but truth doesn’t matter to the Israeli propagandists, who are interested only in provoking a US attack on Iran.

The stakes in this game are high. War with Iran would create economic chaos worldwide, driving the price of oil beyond the outer limits of the bearable – and effectively bringing the US economy to a screeching halt. Like any sane person, President Obama – and his predecessor – sought to avoid this, much to the consternation of Tel Aviv. Yet the politicians in the grip of the Israelis are clearly indifferent to the consequences of such a conflict, with Romney declaring before the Israeli-American Council conference:

"I was frankly stunned that the President of the United States would write a letter of that nature, in effect legitimizing a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and is threatening the world. I find it astonishing. You can talk about a president talking to other world leaders. But to suggest that somehow we could somehow work together is something that is so far beyond the pale I was speechless."

Too bad Romney can’t defect move to Israel and run for President in a country where he has an actual chance of being elected – although he’s such a craven Israel-Firster that maybe they’ll make an exception to their racist policy and make him a citizen.

Romney and his cohorts could care less about the violation of America’s national security displayed by Israel’s brazen spying on the US, which is how the Obama letter became public knowledge in the first place. The man is nothing but an empty suit run by his Israel-Firster handlers: if he had been elected President we’d already be at war with Iran. Obama, to his credit, is trying to avoid that outcome, even as some in his own party – such as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Amen Corner) – plumb for war.

In a sane world, Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, the two Wall Street Journal reporters who broke the Obama letter story, would, at the very least, get the same treatment as New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces years in prison for refusing to divulge his sources for a story detailing how the Bush administration’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program backfired.

And, no, Risen doesn’t deserve such treatment: instead, he should be given a medal for giving the American people information to which they are entitled. The Israelis, on the other hand, are entitled to nothing – even though they think they own us. The difference between the Risen case and the Wall Street Journal’s leakage is the difference between journalism and espionage, which ought to be clear enough – although those who are now calling for Risen’s head and the heads of others (like Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden) were quick to defend the AIPAC officials who clearly spied on behalf of Israel (in the name of "free speech," of course!)

Again and again, the Israelis have displayed a reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions: they are ruthless when it comes to pursuing what they regard as their interests. I would advise extreme caution in the run up to November 24: if and when the Israelis get some indication that an agreement with Iran is near, they’re capable of practically anything – even a repeat of this.

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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].