Last week, the New York Times Magazine published an article highlighting Ben Rhodes who serves as one of President Obama’s top advisors. In the article the deputy national security adviser was quoted bragging about the Obama administration’s success in forming a public narrative for the Iran nuclear deal.
The piece on Rhodes quotes him as saying they built an “echo chamber” of experts who sold a public narrative to young reporters who knew nothing about Iran, and whose only reporting experience was covering political campaigns. Rhodes created a narrative of the deal coming out of the 2013 election of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s subsequent openness and willingness to negotiate. But truth is the outline for the deal was created long before Rouhani’s election into office.
Numerous Republicans were outraged by the article, including Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Chaffetz wanted Rhodes to testify at a hearing set for Tuesday titled, “White House narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.” However, W. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, sent a letter to Chaffetz late Monday saying Rhodes would not testify.
Eggleston’s letter stated that an appearance by Rhodes “threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel.” For those reasons, he said, “we will not make Mr. Rhodes available to testify.”
“We’re planning as if he is attending, and he’ll have a comfortable seat awaiting his arrival,” Chaffetz said Monday afternoon of Rhodes.
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