Colin Kahl participates in a panel discussion about Iran's nuclear program on Capitol Hill, February 21, 2012 in Washington, DC..
(photo credit: CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
A former deputy assistant to president Barack Obama and national security adviser to vice president Joe Biden responded on Twitter Sunday night to reports he was targeted by the private Israeli security firm Black Cube in an attempt to discredit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Aides to US President Donald Trump hired Black Cube to conduct an undercover campaign in order to smear Colin Kahl and Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, according to a report published in the British newspaper The Observer on Saturday.
The New Yorker
reported that during the summer of 2017, Black Cube agents used aliases and shell companies in an attempt to solicit information from Rhodes’s and Kahl’s wives, as well as from reporters and Iran experts who had been in contact with Obama-era officials.
Trita Parsi, a well-known expert on Iranian politics and foreign policy, said he was contacted by a Black Cube agent who claimed to be a reporter. The agent pressed Parsi for information on whether Obama officials had benefited financially from the nuclear agreement. Black Cube secretly recorded the conversation, a transcript of which was obtained by The New Yorker
In his Twitter posts, Kahl said at the same time as the alleged Black Cube operation, Trump administration officials became “obsessed” with him and Rhodes.
“[They] pushed a narrative that Ben and I were solely responsible for turmoil across the Middle East,” he wrote.
“And, in July, when Trump became frustrated that he didn’t have more options to ditch the Iran nuclear deal, he turned to the same White House aides obsessed with Ben and me for alternatives.”
Black Cube is made up of agents “trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to the company’s website. The same firm was hired by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to discredit the women who accused him of sexual harassment and reporters who were covering the story.
The company denied that it targeted Rhodes, Kahl and others. “Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration or to the Iran Nuclear deal,” it said in a statement. “Anyone who claims otherwise is misleading their readers and viewers.”
A Black Cube source told The Jerusalem Post
its employees did not know Kahl.
President Trump is due to decide by May 12 whether the United States will pull out of the nuclear accord
that was negotiated between Iran and the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.