'Hard to Fathom Israel Didn't Know' About Black Cube's Spying Operations, Former Obama Aide Says

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Ben Rhodes in an interview in Washington, D.C., January 15, 2016.
Ben Rhodes in an interview in Washington, D.C., January 15, 2016. Credit: Bloomberg

Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said he would be "surprised" that a private intelligence agency made up of former Mossad agents were "somehow operating without the knowledge of the Israeli government."

Black Cube was accused of spying on former Obama administration officials who were involved in crafting the Iran nuclear deal on behalf of President Donald Trump's aides.

In an interview on CBSN's "Red & Blue," Rhodes, who was spied on by Black Cube last year, said "I know how intelligence operates - and again it's hard for me to fathom a scenario where ... the Israeli government didn't know it was going on."

"The U.S.-Israel relationship is so important ... the politics should be adamant," Rhodes added. "I do think it's important that this shouldn't happen and I wouldn't like it if a bunch of former CIA people were trying to dig up dirt on Israelis. I think this is crossing a line that's blending potentially politics and national security in a way that in the long term is not good for anybody."

According to a report published in The New Yorker back in May, Rhodes' wife received suspicious emails in June 2017 from a London-based film company, which turned out to be a shell company run by Black Cube operatives. The same operatives had also aided disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in blocking the publication of sexual-misconduct allegations against him. Black Cube issued a denial that it was hired by Trump aides following the report. 

Rhodes is currently promoting his memoir, "The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House," on his time serving Obama's administration. In the book, Rhodes quotes Obama complaining about negotiating with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which Obama described as being like dealing with the Republicans.

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