Iranian influence cell breached top level of Biden administration

According to America First Legal (AFL), a group of conservative lawyers that is dedicated to fighting against the “radical left,” an alleged pro-Iranian regime influence cell “appears to be operating at the Biden Administration’s highest levels.”

AFL launched on Tuesday a probe of the Biden administration’s Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, and Ariane Tabatabai, who currently serves as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier.

The group filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Defense at the Pentagon and with the State Department, requesting all records, “including but not limited to emails, text messages, and messages sent through encrypted messaging applications,” of communications between Malley and Tabatabai and the Iranian regime.

Specifically, AFL requested records of communication that include words such as, among others, “Iran,” “Hamas,” “Israel,” or “Palestinian.”

The State Department revoked Malley’s security clearance amid concerns surrounding his handling of classified information. Tabatabai is reportedly part of an Iranian-backed influence operation, called the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI).

According to AFL, Malley “has deep family ties to Palestinian terrorists” and “may have helped infiltrate” Tabatabai into “at least two highly sensitive U.S. government positions.”

“Both Malley and Tabatabai have had access to, and allegedly influence over, U.S. intelligence on Iran, supposedly including intelligence relating to the regime’s relationship and communications with Hamas and Hezbollah,” AFL states.

In a thread on X, AFL reports, “Malley has played a key role in funneling billions of dollars to the regime, allegedly knowing that the money would be used to strengthen Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Assad family in Syria. In June 2023, he was removed from his position for allegedly mishandling classified records. However, published reports are that he had lost his security clearance weeks earlier.”

In addition to the FOIA requests, the organization has asked “the Department of Justice to require Tabatabai to register as an agent of the Iranian regime under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.”

There is “clear evidence” that Tabatabai “was (and may remain) an active participant in a covert Iranian influence campaign designed to shape U.S. government policy to serve the interests of the Iranian regime,” according to AFL’s FARA complaint. “Her requests for guidance from top Iranian officials, which she appears to have faithfully followed, and her desire to harmonize her own words and actions with Iranian objectives, raise obvious Foreign Agents Registration Act concerns.”

Reed Rubinstein, serves as America First Legal’s senior counselor and director of oversight and investigations.

“The horrific events on October 7, 2023, cannot be fairly detached from the Biden Administration’s decision to empower and fund the brutal mullahs running Iran and to pour billions of U.S. taxpayer funds into Gaza and the West Bank, predictably strengthening the savages who tortured, murdered, raped, mutilated, and kidnapped innocent thousands of Israeli civilians,” he said in a statement.

“It is of paramount importance that the truth about the role that Iranian assets may have played, and may continue to be playing, in formulating U.S. policy be brought to light,” he stressed.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The FOIA request could also shine light on a series of leaks from within the State Department that made their way into Iranian state-controlled media.”

“That matter is also under investigation in Congress where Republicans say Iran either breached State Department networks or was handed internal documents by a human source,” the outlet adds.


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