Obama official suspects his wife was targeted by Trump team smear attempt
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Obama official suspects his wife was targeted by Trump team smear attempt

Colin Kahl responds to report Israeli firm was hired to discredit former administration figures who were instrumental in Iran deal

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Then Vice President Joe Biden, center, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, left, and National Security Adviser to the Vice President Colin Kahl, at the Blair House in Washington, February 24, 2016. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Then Vice President Joe Biden, center, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, left, and National Security Adviser to the Vice President Colin Kahl, at the Blair House in Washington, February 24, 2016. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

A former Barack Obama administration aide, responding to a report claiming members of US President Donald Trump’s team had hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to dig up dirt on him, said Sunday that he suspected his wife was also targeted.

As part of a push to discredit the nuclear deal with Iran, people close to Trump hired the agency to “get dirt” on figures in the previous administration who were involved in negotiating the pact, the British outlet the Observer reported over the weekend.

Colin Kahl, who was a deputy assistant to president Obama and national security adviser to vice president Joe Biden, cited emails his spouse received at the time the Israeli agency was said to have been operating.

According to the report, which came out ahead of Trump’s expected May 12 announcement on whether he will scrap the 2015 nuclear agreement, aides to the president contacted the Israeli agency shortly after Trump’s visit to Jerusalem last May and asked for information on Obama administration officials Kahl and Ben Rhodes.

In a series of tweets Sunday, Kahl revealed emails his wife received in the period shortly after the intelligence agency had reportedly been hired to probe him. The author of the emails claimed to represent a private UK equity firm that wanted to meet with his wife, who was on the fundraising committee of his daughter’s school.

“This was not a generic ‘Nigerian prince’ scam,” Kahl wrote, referring to an infamous email scheme. “This person had all sorts of specific information on my wife’s volunteer duties at an obscure DC elementary school.”

Acquaintances in the financial and educational field, who were shown the emails, all agreed that “the entire scenario seemed implausible,” he recalled.

“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 that my family was targeted by people working for the President is yet another sign of the fundamental degradation of our country that Trump has produced.”

“OK tweeps, what were the top things the Israeli intel firm found when they were asked by Trump aides to dig up dirt on me,” Kahl said, and then confessed to  having been a disc jockey, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and riding a unicycle.

“I was briefly in a break dancing crew in the 8th grade, and I had a bleach blonde rat tail to go with my Puma jumpsuit,” Kahl admitted, also saying he was a Taylor Swift fan.

The report cited “incendiary documents” showing that the Israeli intelligence agency was hired to unearth damning information on the personal and professional lives of Kahl and Rhodes, including any relationships with pro-Iranian lobbyists, as well as any indications that the two had benefited from the deal, either politically or personally.

It was unclear how much work was done by the Israeli firm and what material it amassed, the report said.

Trump is fast approaching his self-imposed May 12 deadline for walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran deal is formally known. In January, he gave Congress and European allies an ultimatum to either amend the pact to his liking or stand by as he renewed sanctions against Tehran.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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