Secretary Kerry Allegedly Obstructed FBI Arrests of Suspected Iranian Terrorists During Obama Admin

During the Obama administration, Secretary of State John Kerry "actively interfered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executing arrest warrants on individuals in the U.S. illegally supporting Iranian efforts, including financial efforts, to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and its ballistic missile program," according to a series of letters sent by Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The letters were sent to the DOJ, the Department of State, and the FBI on May 21, 2024, in response to whistleblower disclosures provided to Senators Johnson and Grassley. The letters were highlighted in Sharyl Attkisson's Tweet, which she also authored and linked with a short blurb to give context.

The obstructive measures were undertaken during the period when the Obama White House publicly stated that it would continue to take decisive actions to impose sanctions on Iran. The letters detail public statements between 2013 and 2015 when the Obama/Biden administration negotiated its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal was signed in July 2015. According to the letter, Then-President Obama declared on November 23, 2013, "The broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place, and we will continue to enforce them vigorously." The letter describes two decades of U.S. sanctions under bipartisan oversight where the U.S. imposed sanctions on "Iranian individuals, companies, and organizations for involvement in nuclear proliferation, ballistic missile development, support for terrorist groups, and human rights abuses."

Congress continued to press Obama and Biden to hold Iran accountable during their tenures. According to the letter, Congress made its wishes clear concerning Iran and "passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015" with a provision that said, "[t]he President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law or refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an agreement described in subsection."

Johnson and Grassley now say they have evidence to prove Secretary Kerry allegedly interfered with Congress' wishes, and no one stopped him. Records show that the DOJ and FBI leadership, "to include then-Attorney General Lynch and then-FBI Director Comey, failed to take the necessary steps to stop Kerry's obstructive efforts against law enforcement." 

Unclassified FBI emails from August 2017 show "at least eight instances" of Iran deal-related issues where the "FBI/DOJ/USG" could have acted on the information, but the State Department blocked them. In six of the eight cases, the FBI lost out on the arrest of a "main subject." That subject was allegedly on the "Terrorism Watch List." Another returned to Iran. 

Emails further show that the failure to arrest known and potentially dangerous Iranians was "allegedly done due to political reasons." In one case, one email response from Louis Bladel opens with, "Thanks and likewise. We are all beside ourselves on asked the field to stand down on a layup arrest, however as it stands right now we all have to sit back and wait until all the U.S. and Iran negotianations [SIC] resolve themselves..."

Bladel was at the time in counterintelligence as section chief of the Counter-Proliferation Center (CPC). Comey would later assign him as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the New York Field Office. Bladel was responding to Reginald Reyes, a colleague who was lamenting about the need to "navigate the on-going politics and beuracracy [SIC]."

According to the letter, the obstruction continued well into 2016 until Trump altered their course. Notably, Peter Strzok was copied to emails discussing the "Trump election win [was] having an impact on doing business in Iran." Grassley and Johnson are requesting records from multiple parties, including Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Matthew S. Rader, Cindy R. Burnham, MaryJo Thomas, Peter Strzok, Jonathan Moffa, C.B. Paarmann, Heather P. Koerner, Dina Corsi; and Kevin J. Moore. They also have asked for the case files for each of the eight cases.

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