Home The Rhodes to HuffPost: Resources

The Rhodes to HuffPost: Resources


This page of resources supplements the SaveTheWest.com special report

The New York Times Magazine article that triggered this scandal

The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru: How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age, by David Samuels, The New York Times Magazine, May 5, 2016.  Key excerpts [emphasis added]:

“All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” [Rhodes] said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.” […]

rhodes_ben[R]hodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. “But then there are sort of these force multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — ”

“I can name them,” I said, ticking off a few names of prominent Washington reporters and columnists who often tweet in sync with White House messaging. Price laughed. “I’ll say, ‘Hey, look, some people are spinning this narrative that this is a sign of American weakness,’ ” he continued, “but — ” “In fact it’s a sign of strength!” I said, chuckling.

“And I’ll give them some color,” Price continued, “and the next thing I know, lots of these guys are in the dot-com publishing space, and have huge Twitter followings, and they’ll be putting this message out on their own.” […]

[R]hodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.” […]

“We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” […]

“I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” he said, shrugging. “But that’s impossible.”

Ed.: The evidence of what HuffPost did and failed to do, when correlated to these boasts by Rhodes and Price, reveal that it acted as the most influential online puppet for this cadre of political “ventriloquists.”

Chronology of news articles and blog analyses of Rhodes’s interview with the New York Times Magazine

These items are presented in chronological order in which they appeared (oldest to newest):

Ben Rhodes, Liar: The man who creates the White House’s own reality, by Aaron MacLean, the Washington Free Beacon, May 6, 2016 4:59am EST.

Grand Deception: How Obama and Ben Rhodes Lied Us Into the Iran nuke deal, by David Gerstman, Legal Insurrection, May 6, 2016, 8:30am EST.

White House BRAGS about how it tricked reporters into cheerleading for Obama’s Iran nuclear deal by creating a media ‘echo chamber’, by David Martosko, Daily Mail, May 6, 2016, 13:38pm EST.

Obama’s Former Defense Secretary: Yeah, We Lied To The Israelis That We’d Stop Iran From Going Nuclear, by Hank Berrien, The Daily Wire, May 6, 2016.

Of pride, falls — and Obama’s foreign policy, by Richard Cohen, The Washington Post, May 9, 2016.

The Obama-Rhodes mind-meld: A foreign policy tale told by an idiot, by J.E. Dyer, Liberty Unyielding, May 11, 2016. Excerpt:

I have four tasks here. One, to take you briefly through the most important foreign-policy information the Samuels article conveyed. Two, to show how the Obama-Rhodes mind-meld framed our security priorities exactly backward from what they actually are. Three, to briefly address some significant changes that have already occurred in the Middle East because of Obama-Rhodes. And four, to disabuse your stubborn mind of the notion that there is a U.S. “military option” left against the Iranian nuclear program now.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Meets With European Bankers in Iran-Business Push, by Felicia Schwartz and Margot Patrick, Wall St. Journal, May 12, 2016. Excerpt:

Mr. Kerry and other U.S. officials have crisscrossed the globe in recent weeks in an effort to meet with banking and business leaders to promote investment in Iran, a country with which the U.S. has no diplomatic ties. But many European banks have been wary of doing business involving Iran while U.S. sanctions are still in place and a ban remains on dollar-denominated transactions. “They [the Iranians] have an expectation that the sanctions that are supposed to be lifted are in fact lifted.” Mr. Kerry said Thursday.

Iran: U.S. Encouraging Islamic Republic to Keep Illicit Missile Tests Secret; State Department declines to respond, by Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon, May 16, 2016, 1:56 pm ET.

Inside the Pro-Iran ‘Echo Chamber’: Private email list pushed pro-Iran message to journalists, think tankers, officials, by Alana Goodman, The Washington Free Beacon, May 16, 2016.

White House’s Pro-Iran ‘Propaganda Operation’ May Violate U.S. Law: Obama admin lambasted during investigation into Iran deal deception, By Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon, May 17, 2016 2:15 pm.

White House cites executive privilege, keeps Obama adviser from testifying about Iran nuclear deal, By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, May 17, 2016. Excerpt:

Mr. Chaffetz then went on to play a clip of Mr. Rhodes from early 2015 saying the negotiations produced access to Iran’s nuclear facilities anytime and anywhere — then played a clip of Secretary of State John Kerry later that summer saying that was never a goal, and wasn’t part of the agreement. […] [I]nitially, when first asked last week about the possibility of Mr. Rhodes testifying, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it “has nothing to do with executive privilege.” On Monday, Mr. Eggleston reversed that decision and did assert privilege.

The Obama administration’s smear campaign against Netanyahu: Testimony from former White House official Michael Dolan

VIDEO: How the White House Smeared Benjamin Netanyahu to Sell the Iran Deal, Mosaic, May 18, 2016. Excerpt:

Testifying before Congress, Michael Doran explains how the Obama administration worked to conceal its true intentions in making a deal with Iran, namely to realign the U.S. with the Islamic Republic and disengage from America’s historic allies in the region. The White House further obscured discussion of the deal’s merits by attempting to manipulate an all-too-pliant media; these efforts included what Doran terms a “venomous whisper campaign” to cast the Israeli prime minister “as the villain of the Middle East peace process, an arch-nationalist with unseemly ties to the Republican party who refuses to make the necessary compromises to bring about an historic reconciliation with the Palestinians.”

Michael Doran bio.

Transcript of Doran’s May 18, 2016 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform here.

Former Senior US Official: White House Launched ‘Venomous Whisper Campaign’ Against Netanyahu to Sell Iran Nuclear Deal (VIDEO), by Lea Speyer, The Algemeiner, May 19, 2016.  Excerpt:

As part of the Obama administration’s strategy to sell the Iran nuclear deal, the White House launched a smear campaign against one of the deal’s biggest critics,  Israel’s prime minister, a former policy official told Congress on Tuesday.  According to the congressional testimony of Michael Doran — Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former senior director in the National Security Council (NSC) in the administration of President George W. Bush — the White House initiated a “whisper campaign” against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cast him “as the villain of the Middle East peace process, an arch-nationalist with unseemly ties to the Republican party who refuses to make the necessary compromises to bring about an historic reconciliation with the Palestinians,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

J-Street officials met with Ben Rhodes at White House to strategize on pro-Iran policy, by Elder Of Ziyon, May 22, 2016.  Excerpt:

J-Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami was a frequent visitor to the White House in the months leading up to the Iran deal.  White House records show that Ben-Ami has been a frequent guest, with 12 visits between 2012 and 2014. While some of these visits were as a guest in lavish White House parties with hundreds of other guests, some of the meetings were more intimate, with top White House officials. […]

Ben-Ami’s private access to top White House officials continued after that. He met one-on-one with Philip Gordon, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf Region, in February 2015, and had another one on one meeting with Robert Malley, Gordon’s successor, in May. Shortly thereafter, J-Street launched a website, Iran Deal Facts, that slickly lied about what the deal meant. It took serious money to create it. The site is no longer there, perhaps because it is so easily found to have been nothing but pro-White House propaganda.

J-Street has also publicly aligned with the National Iranian American Council, the unofficial pro-Iran lobby in the US, in pushing the Iran nuclear deal. NIAC’s head Trita Parsi also enjoyed some intimate meetings with White House officials in 2014, mostly with Rumana Ahmed, the While House Muslim advisor, and also with Jewish liaison Matt Nosanchuk

The only “news” article that HuffPost published about the Rhodes-Panetta disclosures. 

Notes: This “news” article focuses primarily on journalistic practices, but ignores the crucial aspects of the Rhodes disclosures, and their implications for U.S., Israeli and global security.  HuffPost posted this article on its front page three days after the Rhodes disclosures (May 9), then removed it after 18 hours – in contrast to how it leaves “news” articles about the Kardashians on its front page for two, three or more days in a row.

Journalists Dispute Claim They Helped Sell White House Iran Deal, by Michael Calderone, The Huffington Post, May 9, 2016, 1:56 pm ET.

HuffPost’s anti-Semitic incitement regarding the Iran “deal”

Bibi, Buji Both Want Israel to Keep It All, by David Hearst, Editor, Middle East Eye, March 17, 2015. Excerpt:

There are five states of Israel, only two of which are going to the polls today. There is the Jewish state, which is a democracy for its Jewish citizens only.

HuffPost’s attacks on opponents of the Iran “deal”

These articles are but a sampling of the kinds of attacks that HuffPost published against those who criticized or opposed the Iran “deal” – which exemplify the narrative and “echo chamber” that Rhodes bragged he and other White House officials had created.

Four Ways Iran’s Hardliners Are Just Like Their Western Counterparts, by Joshua Hersh, Huffington Post, October 24, 2015.


HuffPost enabling Iranian front group NIAC attack opponents of the Iran “deal,” while depicting them as “nonpartisan experts”

Iran Sanctions Bill From Sens. Bob Menendez And Mark Kirk Could Endanger U.S. Negotiations, by Joshua Hersh and Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, December 19, 2013. (screencap below is how HuffPost framed this article; below that are two analyses of this headline, and article, that reveal its dishonesty and deception)

19Dec13-FPHL-Sen-Menendez-SABOTEUR-WITH-AIPACReaction to article:

(1) Huffington Post Serves as Promoter for Iranian Front Group, by The Algemeiner, December 26, 2013. Excerpt:

According to the Huffington Post’s “news” article, its source for this assessment was a “report” that was recently produced by a panel of “Iran experts” [however, this panel, the National Iranian American Council has] “deep and incontrovertible ties to high-level agents of the Iranian regime,” and that this assertion was proved accurate in a September 2012 U.S. federal district court ruling. […] The Huffington Post not only never ran a news story revealing the shocking facts concerning Parsi and the NIAC, but it has published sixteen of Parsi’s articles since the Federal court’s September 2012 ruling* (it’s been running his editorials since April 2012).

[*Ed. HuffPost has now removed these articles from Parsi’s article archive.]

(2) Jewish Group ‘Appalled’ by Huffington Post Article, SWC Says it Paints Jews as Warmongers, The Algemeiner, December 19, 2013. Excerpt:

In the article, the publication attacked Senate leaders who backed a bill which calls for new sanctions against Iran in response to the country’s nuclear program. The bill threatens “to push the United States toward war with Iran,” the paper claimed. “It goes back to the age old canard,” he told The Algemeiner, “that certain people have never seen a war that they can’t find a way to blame on the Jews.”  “Conscious or subconscious it just screams out ‘there they go again,’ meaning Jews, ‘they are bringing the country to war,’” he added.

The AJC (American Jewish Committee) said it was “dismayed” and “appalled” by the article, and spoke out in defense of Senator Menendez.  “The Huffington Post has launched a shameful, unjust assault on Senator Menendez,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

SEPT 1, 2015: Trita Parsi cheers Obama

Obama’s Real Achievement With the Iran Deal, by Trita Parsi, Huffington Post, September 1, 2015.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2015: Trita Parsi sends out lobbying fundraising email, to raise money to pressure 7 more U.S. Senators to support “deal”

Note the wording, as highlighted by SaveTheWest –

We’ve Hit 34 Votes to Seal the Deal!, September 2, 2015.

02Sept15 NIAC fundraising email from TParsiFrom: Trita Parsi [mailto:trita@niacaction.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 10:26 AM
Subject: We’ve hit 34 votes to seal the deal!

Dear ,

You did it! Thanks to you, we just took a giant leap forward in sealing the Iran deal!

Senator Mikulski (D-MD) will announce her support for the deal this morning, giving us the 34 Senate votes needed to protect the President’s veto of a resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal!

Barring the unforeseen, this historic victory means that the deal will officially withstand Congressional rejection.

But we can’t celebrate just yet.

We need 41 votes in the Senate to win the vote outright, preventing the President from having to resort to a veto. A deal protected merely by the President’s veto pen faces an uphill battle in future administrations. A different president can use the same pen to kill the deal.

We must be ready to double down our efforts on the remaining 7 Senators to ensure we seal this deal without a veto.

As we speak, AIPAC and Congressional hawks are working to implement new sanctions aimed at destroying the deal. Draft bill language circulating throughout Congress now shows a clear aim to kill the deal and pave the way for war. Opponents want to force the President to use his veto to diminish the credibility of the deal.

We must be ready to counter these diplomacy-killing efforts in the long-term.

This is not the time to sit back. This is the time to be counted.

Join our efforts to defend the deal in Congress by making a contribution online today!

Our goal is to raise $150,000 in the next few weeks to mobilize Americans of all walks of life to help secure the historic chance for peace we now have within our reach.

With your help, we can do it!


Trita Parsi
Board Member, NIAC Action
NIAC 1411 K St NW, Ste 250 Washington, DC 20005 USA
Help advance peace and the Iranian-American community. Contribute today.

About the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

How the NIAC describes itself:

“The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people. We accomplish our mission through expert research and analysis, civic and policy education, and community building.”

The other side of the NIAC – as an alleged front group for Iran’s ayatollahs and mullahs:

Victory for Free Speech Against Lawfare Proponents – Court Orders National Iranian American Council (NIAC) to Pay $183,480.09 to Iranian American Author Hassan Daioleslam, The Lawfare Project, April 12, 2013.

April 12, 2013 – NEW YORK – This past Tuesday, April 9, in a major victory against lawfare proponents, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its president, Trita Parsi, to pay $183,480.09 to Iranian American Hassan Daioleslam, editor of the website “In Search of Truth: Reports on Mullahs’s lobby in US.” This follows years of litigation, beginning in 2008 when NIAC and Parsi filed a frivolous libel suit against Daioleslam in response to his reporting of Parsi’s and NIAC’s linkages with the Iranian regime, a state sponsor of terrorism.

In fall 2012, the same court granted summary judgment for Daioleslam, dismissing the libel suit. Judge John Bates held that the plaintiffs failed to adduce evidence that Daioleslam “actually harbored any doubts about the correctness of his writings, or willfully blinded himself to the truth,” such that their defamation claim must fail. The court also dismissed the plaintiffs’ false light claim due to their failure to demonstrate that Daioleslam’s statements were made with “actual malice.”

Iranian Regime Loses to Legal Project in Federal District Court, The Legal Project, Sep 18, 2012. Excerpt:

PHILADELPHIA, September 14, 2012 – Federal District Court Judge John B. Bates for the District of Columbia yesterday granted summary judgment for Seid Hassan Daioleslam, editor of the English Iranian Lobby website “In Search of Truth: Reports on Mullahs’s lobby in US,” the defendant in a defamation suit brought by Trita Parsi and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Judge Bates also ordered sanctions against Parsi for failure to comply with the discovery phase of the litigation. The Legal Project coordinated and financed the defense of Mr. Dai; Sidley Austin LLP represented him pro bono.

Trita Parsi sued Seid Hassan Daioleslam for defamation in April, 2008 after Mr. Dai’s investigative reporting exposed Parsi’s and NIAC’s deep and incontrovertible ties to high-level agents of the Iranian regime. The suit went through 53 months of litigation that included 24 months of discovery and over 30 court motions. These ultimately confirmed the accuracy of Mr. Dai’s investigative reports.

The case reached national prominence when Parsi’s e-mails (produced during discovery) not only confirmed his ties to the mullahs but also that he has delivered lectures to the CIA, briefed Secretary Hilary Clinton and visited the Obama White House starting in 2009. As recently as this past July, he was hosted by Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett.

Huffington Post Serves as Promoter for Iranian Front Group, The Algemeiner, December 26, 2013.

The Ayatollah’s Lobby on K Street?, By Jordan Schachtel, American Thinker, March 5, 2014.

Obama’s Iran Adviser Worked for Pro-Tehran Regime Lobby? Investigative report reveals NSC Iran Director who briefed Obama on talks used to work for NIAC, thought to be Iranian mouthpiece, by Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, April 1, 2015. Excerpt:

As Iran nuclear talks reached a deadline that was blithely extended by the US on Tuesday, an investigative media report indicates that one of US President Barack Obama’s top Iran advisers may have worked for a pro-Iranian regime lobbying group in the recent past. The White House released a list of the top National Security Council (NSC) officials who held a video conference with Obama late Tuesday to update him on the talks with Iran in Switzerland’s Lausanne. On the list, which was published by The Daily Beast, the name Sahar Nowrouzzadeh stands out alongside the title “NSC Director for Iran.”

The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby, by Alex Shirazi, The Daily Beast, September 15, 2015. Excerpt:

When the world’s major powers struck a deal over Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna in July, it represented a victory not just for the Islamic Republic, which has now been granted international legitimacy as a nuclear threshold state, but also for a small but increasingly influential lobby in America, one which has long sought rapprochement between Washington and Tehran and now seeks to leverage a successfully concluded nuclear deal as a means to that end.

This Iran lobby, publicly represented by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has become a staunch institutional ally of the White House selling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is known. But while NIAC has done the heavy-lifting—the ad-buying, the leafleting, and congressional meet-and-greets, all designed to sell lawmakers on the Iran deal—its political efforts also underwrite the economic interests of one very well connected but low-profile Iranian family, the Namazis, who played a key role as intellectual architects of NIAC.

Meet the Iran Lobby, by Lee Smith, The Hudson Institute, September 1, 2015. Excerpt:

Trita Parsi, the Iranian-born émigré who moved to the United States in 2001 from Sweden, where his parents found refuge before the Islamic Revolution, should be the toast of Washington these days. As I argued in Tablet magazine several years ago, Parsi is an immigrant who in classic American fashion wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to reconcile his new home and his birthplace. And now he’s done it: The founder and president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the tip of the spear of the Iran Lobby, has won a defining battle over the direction of American foreign policy. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not only lifts sanctions on Iran, a goal Parsi has fought for since 1997, but also paves the way for a broader reconciliation between Washington and Tehran across the Middle East.