An Obama aide believes his wife had been targeted by an Israeli intelligence firm seeking to "dig up dirt" on officials involved in the Iran nuclear deal, he wrote on Twitter Sunday.
Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant to Barack Obama, was referring to a report alleging that aides of U.S. President Donald Trump had targeted him and other officials who took part in the negotiations of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in what was described as a "dirty ops" campaign. It "triggered a very creepy memory," Kahl wrote.
The report, published Saturday in The Observer, specifically named Kahl and Ben Rhodes, a top national security adviser to Obama, as targets of the campaign.
Kahl recalled an overture made to his wife, who was serving on the fundraising committee of his daughter's school, by someone claiming to represent an equity firm and requesting a meeting to discuss including the school in the firm's educational fund network.
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Kahl noted that an e-mail from the individual appeared "out of the blue" and "had all sorts of specific information on my wife's volunteer duties at an obscure D.C. elementary school."
The firm had a website "but it had no depth to it, and there was no detailed information about the 'U.K. person'" who had written the e-mail, he said.
After consulting with people they knew in the finance and education fields, the couple was convinced that the scenario "seemed like an approach by a foreign intelligence entity."
Kahl's wife asked the that the author of the e-mail meet other school fundraising figures, but the individual "kept insisting that 'she' had to meet with my wife."
The former Obama aide noted that this occurred in late May and early June of 2017, lining up with the period mentioned in the report about the intelligence firm's efforts.
"Perhaps it was just a coincidence that this obvious scam targeting my family had all the hallmarks of an intel op and coincided with Team Trump's reported efforts to 'dig up dirt' on me," Kahl wrote. "But the fact that I even have to think about the possibility" was "yet another sign of the fundamental degradation of our country that Trump has produced," he concluded.
Trump must decide by May 12 whether to recertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal or to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions. He has stated in recent weeks that the deal is a "disaster" and that it never should have been signed. European leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have lobbied him not to withdraw from the agreement.