The Money that Sways Politicians' Allegiance

Show Notes

The massacre of more than 1,300 Israelis by Hamas terrorists still outrages most of the world. The focus on Hamas, Hezbollah, and their deep ties to Iran exposes the brutality of all three, and Israel’s fearsome, ongoing response enjoys broad support.

But the role played by Iran is complex, deadly, and insidious – and perhaps partly enabled by U.S. policy. In the latest episode of the Drill Down podcast, Peter Schweizer asks: “Do we really stand with Israel, in terms of our government policy and some of the people that are making policy decisions?” In the case of one key Biden Administration policy maker, the now-suspended diplomat Robert Malley, the answer is clearly no.

Robert Malley has for years been a fixture in American left-wing circles on Middle East affairs. After serving in the Clinton administration, he spent the Bush years running a pro-Iran think tank funded by George Soros. He then emerged as an advisor to presidential candidate Barack Obama but was removed after it was revealed he was in regular contact with terrorists.

“He was talking to officials from Hamas, a terrorist organization,” Schweizer says.

Still, six years later (2015), Malley was tapped by President Obama to oversee the Iran deal that he negotiated but could not get the Senate to adopt as a treaty.

Malley was shelved again during the Trump years – along with the Iran deal he had managed – but came back like a bad penny in 2021 when the new Biden administration pledged to resurrect the Iran deal. But, once more, fate intervened. Malley was forced out of the State Department just this summer when an internal investigation revealed he had “mishandled classified documents.” Additional reporting found there is also an ongoing FBI investigation of him.

Malley has made no secret of his desire for the US to have better relations with Iran or his dislike of Israel, even as far back as his freshman year at Yale. The son of a Marxist writer who served in the anti-Israel government of Egyptian President Abdel Nasser, Malley was raised in Paris and knew Yasir Arafat as a frequent guest in his parents’ home.

“So, when the Biden administration says it is fully behind Israel, it is relevant to point to people like Malley who they hire for important work on US Middle East policy. Do their staffing decisions match their commitments?” Schweizer asks.

Congress has noticed.

“Rob Malley deserves extensive scrutiny — yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told reporters after news broke that officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps planned and signed off on the massacre committed by Hamas terrorists from Gaza against Israel. “These reports could not be more concerning, and they hint at what could be the worst State Department scandal since Alger Hiss,” Issa added.

Then there is the money angle. The Iranians do not hire lobbyists in Washington, but use their oil reserves to do the talking for them. A group called the American-Iranian Council is a good example. It is a research and policy think tank “devoted to improving understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States, and promoting the overall development of Iran.” Not surprisingly, it enjoys funding from key US multi-national oil companies including BP, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, Shell, and several others.

This is nothing new. People with interests in foreign companies have served before in public office while simultaneously having foreign entanglements. Peter points out that former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who was a key advisor and “shadow diplomat” for Hillary Clinton when she served in the Obama administration as Secretary of State, was also a paid director for the Russian-owned oil company Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya (TMK) during the same time period.

“While he was advising her (Clinton) to reduce sanctions on Iran, the Russian oil company that was paying him millions was selling pipeline equipment to the Iranian government that was under sanctions. That’s a massive conflict of interest,” Schweizer said.

Hamas’s invasion came as Israel was negotiating for normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, a step that would effectively isolate Iran from its regional neighbors. Iran-funded proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, are doing the mullahs’ business through violence to scuttle Israeli and American diplomacy with Saudi Arabia.