The Guardian‘s Observer “can reveal” that Trump’s aides hired an Israeli private intelligence agency last May to find “dirt” on two former Obama advisers. It’s been “part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the [Iran nuclear] deal,” according to the reporters.
One of the advisers in question is Ben Rhodes, formerly the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. He’s been called an overbearing lightweight, and his background is hardly that of an expert on the Middle East. Rhodes’ strong side, according to David Samuels (1, 2) was selling Obama’s policies, above all the Iran deal, to the media and the general public:
If it sounds weird to say that Rhodes is both a manipulative spin-doctor and a deeply honest, creative person who believes strongly in the policies he spins for, well, that is still the truth.
A dangerous character if this is true. The more I learn about the workings of Obama’s administration, the better I understand how rotten the whole business was.
However, I would suggest a different reason why Rhodes may have been the focus of a private investigation by someone hired by a Trump lieutenant. Google “Ben Rhodes” unmasking and set the “latest” date to April 30, 2017. Lots of interesting results, such as this, from The Daily Mail on April 3, 2017:
Grenell [now the US ambassador to Germany] was the first to publicly raise Rice’s name in conjunction with the unmasking of Americans’ names during the final year of the Obama administration, along with that of Rhodes, the former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.
Later in 2017, Rhodes was the focus of a congressional probe into the unmasking affair and was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in October. But the allegations had surfaced earlier – see this news from March 20, for one.
On a side note, The Guardian asking Jack Straw’s opinion on the matter is infinitely amusing.