Israel’s Army Radio, via the Jerusalem Post, reports that local sources claim U.S. President Barack Obama arranged the leak of a Mossad report on the Iran nuclear talks as an act of revenge against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for agreeing to speak to Congress in February about radical Islam and the Iranian threat. The Mossad report allegedly suggests new sanctions would cause talks to collapse, and its release is calculated to suggest disagreement with Netanyahu.
The new sanctions proposed by members of both parties in Congress are an updated version of those that Obama said last year that he would veto, as talks began. The sanctions would be triggered only if Iran failed to agree to a deal, and talks fell through.
Though the sanctions merely deliver on a promise that Obama himself has made, he has warned that the very fact of enacting an automatic trigger into law would poison the diplomatic atmosphere that has supposedly kept Iran talking.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has blasted Obama’s argument as a version of the Iranian “narrative,” and has pointed out that Tehran has no qualms about doing things that might offend the U.S., such as building new nuclear plants and signing a new military agreement with Russia.
As for Netanyahu, the idea that talks might collapse is no great problem, since he has argued from the start that the talks were an “historic mistake” that would just buy Iran time to build a bomb.
If the White House was indeed behind the leak of the Mossad report, it would not be the first time it used leaks to damage Netanyahu. The report could also be Israel’s version of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the celebrated (but wrong) effort by dissident U.S. intelligence officials to derail pressure on Iran by suggesting it was not seeking nuclear weapons any more.
The leak would also be ironic, since the White House has complained that Netanyahu’s visit would breach protocol.
Update: Breitbart News asked Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin, who reported the Mossad leak, whether the White House leaked the report as a form of revenge. His answer: “No.”
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak