Since June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump announced for the presidency, America has been inundated with a veritable cascade of Trumpian awfulness. The outrageous behavior–consisting of multiple forms of bigotry, outright ignorance on the part of the president and his minions, complete incompetence, blatantly unpatriotic behavior and appalling corruption–has come to the public’s attention at a fast and furious clip, and it is important, of course, not to be numbed to the awfulness; each instance of reprehensible conduct, each individual corrupt act deserves condemnation and ought to infuriate decent people. But while I am sure that the subject of this blog post will eventually be surpassed with a new and even more disgusting revelation regarding our president and his odious ilk, it is fitting to note that Donald Trump has done something so utterly beyond the pale that Felix Dzerzhinsky (pictured above) may very well rise from the grave and applaud it.
I hope you have the stomach for this one:
Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal.
People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.
The extraordinary revelations come days before Trump’s 12 May deadline to either scrap or continue to abide by the international deal limiting Iran’s nuclear programme.
Jack Straw, who as foreign secretary was involved in earlier efforts to restrict Iranian weapons, said: “These are extraordinary and appalling allegations but which also illustrate a high level of desperation by Trump and [the Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, not so much to discredit the deal but to undermine those around it.”
One former high-ranking British diplomat with wide experience of negotiating international peace agreements, requesting anonymity, said: “It’s bloody outrageous to do this. The whole point of negotiations is to not play dirty tricks like this.”
To be sure, British newspapers have a tendency to publish somewhat salacious news stories that are somewhat thinly sourced; the “former high-ranking British diplomat” is the very prototypical anonymous news source British newspapers so love quoting. But given all that we have learned about Trump and about the terrible people who work with and for him, would anyone really be surprised if this news story turned out to be true? Note that “[a] spokesman for the White House’s national security council offered ‘no comment’ when approached.” Er . . . can anyone really think of a good reason why a spokesperson for the National Security Council wouldn’t adamantly deny out of hand any suggestion that the White House would be involved in a dirty ops campaign like this one?
Colin Kahl, one of the alleged targets of the alleged operation, has written a Twitter thread that lends some very disturbing background to this repulsive story. Whether or not the story is true, Trumpkins appear to be fine with it; I suppose that all of this fits in with the Trumpkin habit of applauding any Trumpian act that brings about “liberal tears.” And this does nothing to dampen speculation.
I’d like to think that all of this will end up being much ado about nothing, and the story will be found to have no truth whatsoever to it. But at this point, after nearly three years of Donald Trump being an unwelcome presence in the national consciousness, I know enough to not only not dismiss this story, but to act as though it is true until proven otherwise. And given the type of person the 45th president is, and the type of people he attracts into his orbit, I am not holding my breath waiting for anyone to conclusively disprove this story.
We all knew that Chekism is alive and well. We now know that it may very well have achieved a foothold at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.