Suspicion surrounds recent Iran deals
ROBERT MALLEY AND IRAN
One of the lessons that many police departments learned (and already should have known) from the Ferguson Missouri riots following the death of Michael Brown was that openness and transparency are critical to maintain credibility. This is especially true at the early stages of a crisis. The Ferguson Police Department didn’t explain what was happening or give a narrative about the events surrounding the shooting… With disastrous results.
And what has been happening at the State Department surrounding Robert Malley over the past few months is certainly a crisis. Yet we hear nothing. Knowing that transparency is critical to agency credibility, it is logical to assume that there is a coverup going on. And perhaps worse.
Robert Malley was Joe Biden’s Special Envoy to Iran. In the Obama Administration he served in several important roles shaping foreign policy and played a critical role in the initial Iran nuclear deal. But he is no longer receiving a paycheck from the federal government; he is suspended without pay for reasons that have not been explained. To anyone. Including Congress. When the House Foreign Affairs Committee questioned Malley’s absence from a briefing in May of 2023, the State Department told the Committee that Malley was on an “extended personal leave”.
This was an abject lie. Malley was on unpaid suspension and had had his security clearance revoked. As a result, the House Foreign Affairs Committee opened an investigation. Malley’s conduct has apparently also been referred to the FBI, so we might have some answers before the end of the decade. (but probably not)
Robert Malley is suspected of being under undue influence, or even perhaps an agent, of the Iranian Government. This comes after news that Biden agreed to a head-scratchingly soft deal with Iran, agreeing to release $6 billion in frozen funds shortly before the Hamas raid on Israel. It’s not a big surprise that this sweetheart deal was pushed by Malley, who has publicly spoken positively about Hamas and Hezbollah in the past.
The Iran Experts Initiative (IEI) was a program started by Iran’s foreign ministry in 2014 (before Obama’s nuclear deal) to influence and likely spy on other governments. The IEI fostered a network of associates in America and Europe to promote Iran’s objectives and goals, particularly around the nuclear issue.
It turns out that Malley hired advisers Ariane Tabatabai, Ali Vaez, and Dina Esfandiary who also participated in this Iranian IEI operation. Ali Vaez didn’t even qualify for a top-secret clearance, but Malley kept him on the team anyway (no doubt he had access to classified information). Malley himself has numerous contacts within the Iranian government that could be useful in negotiations. They could also be seen as potentially treasonous.
Much of the information that led to this burgeoning scandal came from leaked emails from Iranian government officials, particularly Mostafa Zahrani, a Revolutionary Guard member and Iranian foreign affairs employee. Zahrani’s emails show several communications between the members of Malley’s staff and the Iranian government.
These emails asked for Iranian advice on trips to Israel (pertinent?) and attendance at conferences. Vaez even asked for an article to be proofread for content prior to release. (i.e. what do you want me to say?) Some of the aforementioned Malley staffers even took allegiance oaths to the Iranian government. Many of these communications were not disclosed by the American IEI participants including Ariene Tabatabai, who should not have been given a security clearance if the United States was aware of her open channel of communication with Iranian officials. Tabatabai is currently employed by the Department of Defense (the US one to be clear) and still has her security clearance.
Now the House Oversight Committee is smelling blood in the water around the Iranian influence within the State Department. Having been stonewalled by the Biden Administration, they are planning legal action to find out what has been going on. They intend on subpoenaing him, and we encourage them to do so.
The Biden Administration’s comment on this development has been typical. “No comment.” Perhaps they are sympatico with his actions, or perhaps the fact that he is a childhood friend of Anthony Blinken is reason enough for the stonewalling. Whatever the reason, the Biden Administration’s credibility is taking a hit.
When you see Malley’s current employment, one must wonder how much the Biden Administration knew of his connections with Iran. Malley is currently teaching at Yale and Princeton. It seems like every person doing dirty work for the Administration lands a nice job at a left-leaning news outlet or a university. It often appears like these gigs are a reward for misdeeds or silence. Obama and Biden both appear desperate to ameliorate relations with the terror-sponsoring Iranian government. We have no idea why and to what end. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem to be working out too well.
So now defenders of the Biden Administration are decrying the more serious speculation about Malley and his team. But it appears they didn’t read the report on the unrest in Ferguson Missouri. If you want credibility…be transparent. We are not holding our breath.
COUNTER TERROR CUTS COME AT JUST THE WRONG TIME
The United States and local police departments appeared to be drawing back its counterterrorism capabilities in the months before the most recent outbreak of terrorism around the world. Those moves seem to be poorly thought out as a variety of threats are emerging.
The Defense Department is cutting the Special Operations budget as it focuses on the China threat. The manpower is expected to fall by about 3,700 including critical intelligence gathering operators. This would seriously hamper CIA operations, which routinely rely on the Special Operations Command for support
The FBI is focusing on domestic terrorism instead of Islamic extremism. As far as we know the Proud Boys, although not model citizens, have yet to cause a single death. Many of these individuals are not serious threats as evidenced by their collapse in intestinal fortitude as January 6th indictments led to tears and apologies. The FBI’s focus on these people weakens our ability to identify foreign actors threatening our homeland.
Even local police departments have announced plans to gut counterterror budgets. The NYPD is reducing its counterterrorism staffing by up to 75%. As New York City remains the primary target of international terror, this seems shortsighted.
These stories seem to proliferate just as terrorism rocked Israel, leaving a death toll over 1,000. Last week a teacher in France was killed in a knife attack by an Islamic extremist. An attack in Brussels this week shows that jihadi attacks on the west are not a thing of the past.
These cuts couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now that the FBI and the NYPD are put on high alert due to terrorism concerns we assume they are doing some serious internal back peddling. Their decisions to focus their attentions elsewhere could have deadly consequences.
Thanks for reading The Ops Desk. Stay Safe!