Tag Archive: Ben Rhodes


Published time: October 23, 2013 05:35

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

A senior US National Security Council staffer has been fired for using an anonymous Twitter account to send hundreds of messages criticizing the Obama administration from inside the White House.

Jofi Joseph, a director in the nuclear non-proliferation team inside the NSC, was let go a week ago after administration officials spent months investigating who was tweeting from @natsecwonk. The account opened in February 2011 and lasted until last week, sending thousands of tweets critical of Obama’s policies, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and various high level officials in the interim.

Two sources in the administration confirmed to The Daily Beast that Joseph, 40, was behind the account. The staffer was a member of the NSC team that sat across the negotiating table from Iran in Istanbul earlier this year.

“Is it just me, or with the Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah tonight, is Twitter much quieter?” he once wrote.

What’s so disturbing about the Hillary dancing photo is the high-def resolution of Ben Rhodes’ balding pate. And Jake Sullivan behind him,” another read, referencing US President Obama’s deputy national security advisor and speechwriter as well as Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor.


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NSC aide admits Twitter attack on White House

A senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran’s nuclear weapons program told POLITICO he deeply regrets tweeting hundreds of anti-administration messages under the pseudonym @natsecwonk.

Jofi Joseph, 40, was fired from his job on the NSC nuclear non-proliferation team a week ago after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi.

“It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me,” Joseph told POLITICO in an email.

“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments.  I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.”

(Also on POLITICO: White House official fired for tweets)

Obama spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed that Joseph  had left the White House – and that he no longer had his top security clearances.

In the course of their investigations, officials also told Joseph they suspected he was responsible for a second anonymous Twitter account “@dchobbyist” which included racier tweets about sexual encounters, escort services – and the inner workings of the State Department.

“Wow, you look amazingly sexy in this photo!” the @dchobbyist wrote in an Oct. 5th post.

“That was him,” a person briefed on the probe told POLITICO.

Joseph didn’t respond to a request for comment on the second account.

Joseph, who was part of the White House team that opened up preliminary negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in Istanbul earlier this year, lived a double life, working with NSC officials and State Department higher-ups on the most sensitive issues while secretly tweet-bombing them with comments like: “’Has shitty staff.’ #ObamaInThreeWords.”

For months, White House and State department officials searched for @NatSecWonk, a hunt that intensified after he repeatedly expressed doubts about the official administration accounts about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi.

After a probe that included an investigation into Joseph’s travel and shopping patterns – parsed from over 2,000 tweets – lawyers from the White House counsel’s office confronted Joseph and ordered him to leave the executive complex, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Joseph had been scheduled to rotate out of White House duty to a senior job in the Pentagon, an administration official told POLITICO.

The revelation that Joseph was @natsecwonk came as a shock because Joseph was a familiar figure in the foreign policy world – as is his wife Carolyn Leddy, a highly-regarded staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin.


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White House releases additional documents related to Benghazi response

 photo WhiteHousereleasesadditionaldocumentsrelatedtoBenghaziresponse_zpsf87a1d23.jpg

One hundred pages of emails were passed out by the White House Wednesday as the Obama administration tried to put an end to the long simmering dispute over what took place when the American compound in Benghazi was attacked. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

Under increasing scrutiny from congressional Republicans, the White House on Wednesday released copies of emails and other additional supporting documents related to its response to last fall’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The White House released the materials in the wake of Republicans’ clamor for more information about how the Obama administration crafted its explanation for the incident, which came at the height of last year’s campaign season, and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The emails convey different parts of the administration — the White House, the State Department, and the CIA — trading drafts of talking points for use not just by representatives of the administration, but also by members of Congress.

Read part one of the White House emails (.pdf)

From the very first draft, the talking points included references to “Islamic extremists” who might have participated in the attack.

The most significant changes involved removing references to Ansar al-Sharia to not hinder the investigation into the attack, and changing reference to the Benghazi location to a “mission” or “diplomatic post,” rather than a consulate.

Those talking points, though, were subjected to scrutiny and a series of tweaks from different agencies to ensure the talking points did not get out in front of investigators, who did not yet appear to have a full grasp of the underpinnings of the attack at that point.

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Did the White House selectively leak e-mail to distort Benghazi timeline story? Update: Axelrod: Release all the Libya e-mails

posted at 9:21 am on May 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In order to understand just how badly the White House may have fumbled this ball, let’s go back to last week.  Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard reported from Congressional sources on a White House-State Department e-mail string that made clear that the administration wanted the talking points on Benghazi massaged to protect sources and its own political goals.  ABCs Jon Karl later reported from the e-mails themselves, showing that the White House and State Department went through 12 versions of talking points before settling on the final version, which CIA Director Davod Petraeus called “useless” and advised against using.

Yesterday, however — not too long before Jay Carney’s press briefing at the White House — Jake Tapper got a leaked version of an e-mail sent by Ben Rhodes that seemed to contradict the reporting from Hayes and Karl:

CNN has obtained an e-mail sent by a top aide to President Barack Obama about White House reaction to the deadly attack last September 11 on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that apparently differs from how sources characterized it to two different media organizations.

The actual e-mail from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes appears to show that whomever leaked it did so in a way that made it appear that the White House was primarily concerned with the State Department’s desire to remove references and warnings about specific terrorist groups so as to not bring criticism to the department.

During the press conference, Carney seized on this report to claim that the Benghazi story was a trumped-up non-story:

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MSNBC Panelists Agree That Benghazi Scandal Makes White House Look Terrible


Published on May 14, 2013

Guests n MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner were in general agreement that the Benghazi scandal makes the White House look terrible, with one even bringing up the possibility of impeaching Obama.