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Columbia Law Review

New details emerge about illegal actions Obama took to secure Iran deal


Congressional and foreign policy critics of former President Barack Obama’s engagement with Iran have long suspected there was much more to it than just a “nuclear agreement” that many felt was a bad deal for the U.S. and our friends in the Middle East.

Some believed that Obama worked to directly undermine the lone democracy in the region and long-standing American ally, Israel, as evidenced by his oft-contentious meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, some two years after the 44th president has left office, we’ve learned that the critics were right to suspect him.

Not only did Obama push through the nuclear deal in violation of federal statutes and without the constitutional requirement of Senate treaty approval, it appears as though he attempted to undermine the Israeli government as he did the incoming Trump administration.

An analysis published recently in the Columbia Law Review laid out several instances where the Obama regime failed to meet legal and constitutional standards in the pursuit of a nuclear deal at any cost.

What’s more, the analysis points out that the Obama administration not only spied on Israel — which isn’t altogether irregular because Israel conducts similar operations against the U.S. and other allies — but also critics of the Iran deal, which included private pro-Israel organizations and members of Congress, in clear violation of U.S. surveillance laws.

“The Obama Administration’s efforts to sign and implement a nuclear agreement with Iran with limited if any congressional input, and at times in violation of federal law, is a particularly important example of Democratic constitu­tional hardball,” the CLR noted.

“To sell the deal,” the analysis continued, “the Administration found it necessary to lie to the American public about its origins. The Administration began secret negotiations with Iran in mid-2012.” (Related: Is the NSA still SPYING on American citizens? New IG report warns of ‘increased RISK’ to civil liberties.)

At the time, James Rosen, then Fox News’ chief White House correspondent, asked about the negotiations, but was rebuffed — lied to — by a State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, who said “government-to-government” talks were not underway (they were). What’s more, the State Department later deliberately cut out the embarrassing questions from a press briefing video, The Washington Post reported.

Obama administration officials claimed that talks with Iran began in 2013 as a means of taking advantage of “a new political reality” in Iran that occurred following elections that allegedly brought “moderates” to power (there are no “moderates” in Iran; the country is run by its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, an Islamic hardliner).

“As David Samuels reported in the New York Times Magazine, this story of nascent moderation in the Iranian government ‘was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,’” the CLR analysis said.

The analysis added:

The Obama Administration also spied on U.S. opponents of the Iran deal, both in Congress and in private pro-Israel organizations. Pro-Israel activists reported that the Administration seemed to know exactly what they were saying and doing, and acted accordingly. There have also been serious allegations that the Obama Administration undermined federal law enforcement efforts against the Hezbollah terrorist group to placate Hezbollah’s Iranian backers.

As for Israel, the White House directed U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on Netanyahu in particular over concerns that he would manage to successfully derail the nuclear deal, which he vehemently opposed, even to the point of going directly to the U.S. Congress in an appeal for rejection.

The Wall Street Journal reported that despite Obama’s pledge to curb spying on allies following the 2013 revelations of NSA surveillance by Edward Snowden, his administration kept its eye on Netanyahu anyway.

“That raised fears—an ‘Oh-s— moment,’ one senior U.S. official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress,” the paper said.

It’s difficult to know just how extensive the Obama regime’s unconstitutional, illegal activities were in regard to a nuclear deal it went to great lengths to make, but one thing is certain: Trump’s decision to leave it appears to be the correct one.

A version of this story first appeared at NewsTarget.

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