By dropping charges against major arms targets, the administration infuriated Justice Department officials -- and undermined its own counterproliferation task forces.
By JOSH MEYER 04/24/17 05:00 AM EDT
When President Barack Obama announced the "one-time gesture" of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who "were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses" last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans.
But Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to a POLITICO investigation.
The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.
When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.
I'd like to point out that the GOP went along with this debased spectacle, under the Corker maneuver. The GOP could have stopped it. They chose not to. Which is part of the reason why Donald Trump is president today, and not the GOP's anointed child, Jeb.
We won't be able to fix the damage that Obama and the Quisling GOP did. It will come back to bite us in the ass.