Reports that aides to President Trump engaged in an effort to spy on and discredit former Obama administration officials involved in the Iran nuclear negotiations are deeply alarming.
If true, this is just the latest indication that the president is not approaching the JCPOA nuclear agreement from a serious policy perspective focused on US security and interests. This reported activity would be further evidence that the administration has been unable to convincingly critique the substance of an agreement that has succeeded in blocking all Iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon. Instead, President Trump and his allies have acted in shameful bad faith, misrepresenting the agreement and apparently targeting its supporters in order to score political points against the Obama administration.
Allegations that a private Israeli intelligence firm may have been involved in this effort raise very serious questions about the appropriateness and legality of actions carried out by associates of the president — and Congress should demand answers. Were US government employees or federal funds involved in an effort to discredit former administration officials? Was a foreign firm engaged by associates of the president? Did associates of the president consult with or involve foreign officials in these efforts? Was the private information of US citizens improperly shared or otherwise compromised?
With just days left until the president is expected to decide the fate of the nuclear agreement, a vital national security decision has been clouded with the shadow of possible illegality and conspiracy. It should be absolutely clear that this president cannot be trusted to rationally and responsibly direct our nation’s foreign policy. If President Trump acts to withdraw the US from the JCPOA, Congress must step in and act to avert the disastrous consequences that could follow.