We already know that the Obama administration engaged in some verbal gymnastics to try and sell the Iranian nuclear deal to the American people in 2015. The New York Times reported last year that Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes helped push a "narrative" that Iran had adopted moderate policies so that the White House could gain support for the agreement. In reality, Iran was still in engaging in nefarious activity.
The House Oversight Committee, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), is digging deeper to try and discover just how the Obama White House manipulated the deal. The committee is reacting in direct response to a Politico report last month that suggested the Obama administration "hampered a much-touted federal law enforcement effort known as the National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s illicit weapons proliferation activities."
The report also noted that the Obama administration downplayed the threat of the Iranian traffickers they were freeing as part of a prisoner swap. While the president insisted the freed prisoners were merely "civilians," in reality they posed serious threats to national security.
Now, Chaffetz, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and other members of the House Oversight Committee and sending their demands to the Justice Department, eager to glean more information about the last administration's misleading tactics.
In their May 5 letter, Republican Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Ron DeSantis asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to produce an exhaustive volume of Justice Department documents that they said would “help the Committee in better understanding these issues.” They sent a nearly identical letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanding all related documents in the State Department’s possession, and gave both officials until May 19 to provide one copy of them to committee Republicans, and another to committee Democrats. A Democratic Committee staffer said the minority side wasn't asked to sign the letter or given an advance copy of it before it went out.
Before the Oversight Committee penned their letter, over a dozen senators wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well, asking similar questions.
The senators’ letter, released Friday, was co-signed by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Luther Strange (R-Ala.).The senators, in their letter, included a list of questions they wanted answered, including whether the 21 men whose cases were dropped were “still engaging in illicit activities on behalf of the Iranian government.”
On the one-year anniversary of the nuclear deal, President Obama claimed the agreement had lived up to its promises. Yet, Iran is still engaging in belligerent behavior.