Politico is out with a damning report about the Obama administration's dealings with Iran last year in the lead-up to a nuclear arms accord. The story by Josh Meyer alleges that former President Obama gave up more than he acknowledged publicly, particularly in regard to a prisoner swap ahead of the deal. The Obama White House released seven prisoners it characterized as non-dangerous businessmen, neglecting to mention that three of them had been deemed a threat to national security by the president's own Justice Department. (They'd been accused of illegally shipping US macroelectronics to Tehran for use in surface-to-air and cruise missiles.) What's more, Politico found that the US also quietly dropped criminal cases against 14 fugitives, including Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who allegedly procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran by way of China.
"They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys," one former federal law enforcement supervisor tells Politico. "And then they didn’t give a full story of it." In fact, Meyer writes, the White House actions "derailed" its own successful investigations into Iran's proliferation network, angering Justice Department prosecutors. A senior Obama official acknowledges that anger but says such compromises are necessary and pale in comparison to the greater good of a nuclear deal. Here's one sample of early reaction, from the conservative Hot Air site: "Barack Obama and John Kerry desperately needed a win on foreign policy in 2015-6 after seeing its 'smart power' approach turn the Middle East and Caucasus into flames," writes Ed Morrissey. "They didn’t care if it was a short-term win that sacrificed long-term national security." Read the full Politico piece here. (Read more Iran stories.)