Yikes: FBI Denied Obama's Iran Deal Messenger and Top Advisor Ben Rhodes a Security Clearance in 2008

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 3:15 PM
Yikes: FBI Denied Obama's Iran Deal Messenger and Top Advisor Ben Rhodes a Security Clearance in 2008

Before entering the White House as one of President Obama's most senior advisors on national security, Ben Rhodes was an aspiring novelist with little experience in foreign affairs or national security. Today, he's one of Obama's go to members of the national security team.

But according to a new report from the Free Beacon's Adam Kredo, Rhodes failed to pass FBI scrutiny in 2008 while being vetted for the White House and was denied the necessary security clearance. Despite the denial, Rhodes went on to become an architect of U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. Specifically, the Iran nuclear deal. 

Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser who led the administration’s efforts to mislead Congress about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is under scrutiny in the wake of disclosures he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008, when the administration was moving into the White House.

According to Kredo, Rhodes' position as deputy national security advisor and work in the White House is now under Congressional scrutiny. Rhodes' position requires regularly handling and reading top secret and classified information. 

Lawmakers are now concerned that Rhodes’ access to the top levels of government—including its diplomacy with Iran—is inappropriate due to the FBI’s concerns about his past.

“Recent reports indicate the FBI denied, or was going to deny, Ben Rhodes an interim security clearance during President Obama’s transition,” Reps. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) and Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.) wrote in a recent letter to FBI Director James Comey, according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.

“This previously unknown fact is extremely troubling and calls into question the integrity of the FBI’s protocols and the wisdom of Mr. Rhodes’ continued government employment,” the lawmakers wrote.

“For the FBI to evidently find something in Mr. Rhodes’ background that led it to potentially deny him a security clearance only to have Mr. Rhodes work at the highest levels of the Obama administration shakes the entire clearance process to the core,” the lawmakers wrote. “Mr. Rhodes has working in the White House for the past seven years and is the architect of the Iran deal ‘echo chamber,’ as he recently described himself.”

In the letter sent to the FBI, lawmakers want to know if Rhodes currently holds the proper security clearance and why he was denied a clearance in the first place. 

This reporting certainly adds to the accusation the Obama administration as a whole, not just former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, carelessly and indignantly handled classified information improperly.

There will certainly be more to this story.