Maybe John Kerry really did share intel on Israel with Iran

Last week, the New York Times reported that, in a leaked tape, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that then–secretary of state John Kerry had informed him that Israel had attacked repeatedly Iranian interests in Syria.  Because Kerry promptly denied that assertion, claiming he repeated only publicly available information, we refrained from discussing it here.  However, now that there's new information again pointing the finger at Kerry, it's time to address the report if only to note the dispute.

According to a Times story last Sunday, Zarif made a three-hour-long audiotape for an oral history project.  When the story broke, I discussed here Zarif's points about Qassem Soleimani's death and about the power the Quds Forces hold in Iran.  However, I refrained from discussing a bombshell buried way down in the article, long after the short-attention-span reader would already have abandoned reading:

Former Secretary of State John Kerry informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, to his astonishment, Mr. Zarif said.

That ambiguous language could be understood two ways: either Zarif was astonished at the number of Israeli strikes or he was astonished that Kerry would talk to him about Israel in that way.  Across America, the hackles of people supporting both Israel and America's own national security went up because they understood the surprise to come from Kerry's leaking.  Was Kerry another Hillary Clinton?  After all, this information would have come from security briefings that must have been classified.  Republicans, therefore, demanded an investigation.

Kerry, however, vehemently denied the imputation that he'd leaked classified info about an American ally to Iran, stating, "I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false.  This never happened — either when I was Secretary of State or since."

While we here at American Thinker are not particularly impressed with Kerry's history of veracity, in the face of that unequivocal denial, we opted to wait and see if the report had more legs than Kerry's statement.  Democrats rushed to back Kerry up, claiming that anything Kerry said was already public knowledge, a narrative the State Department has promoted — and it is true that, on September 2018, the IDF publicly announced that, since 2017, it had hit over 200 Iranian targets in Syria.

On Friday, though, more information emerged suggesting that John Kerry reported this information to Zarif — foreign minister to a regime that openly states its desire to destroy America and Israel — before it was public knowledge.  This doesn't mean that the newest information is true or that we're properly understanding it, but the mere fact that there's pushback against Kerry's denial is itself newsworthy.

The new information clarified that Zarif was not surprised that Kerry wanted to discuss publicly available information about Israel.  Zarif was surprised because Kerry's statements were the first he'd heard about the Israeli strikes.  According to Adam Credo:

Leaked audiotape of Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif indicates he had no knowledge of covert Israeli military strikes before former secretary of state John Kerry provided him with the information, new details that contradict the State Department's recent defense of Kerry.

These details are likely to further fuel calls from leading Republicans for Kerry's firing or resignation. The New York Times reported that Zarif said on the tape that Kerry told him Israel launched 200 airstrikes against Iranian interests in Syria. The Times did not provide further details on that issue. But an independent translation of the audiotape commissioned by the Washington Free Beacon shows that Zarif went on to clarify that he had no prior knowledge of these Israeli strikes before Kerry told him.

"Kerry told me that Israel had launched 200 airstrikes against you [Iran]," said Zarif. "You didn't know?" asked his interviewer. "No, no," he replied.

These new details contradict top State Department officials, who have repeatedly said the information was already in the public domain and not classified.

As Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, Kerry has some 'splainin' to do.  If he did indeed release classified information to the Iranians, he needs to exchange his private jets and luxury, gas-guzzling climate czar lifestyle for a nice cell in the federal hoosgow.  And if he leaked and doesn't get punished, that will tell Americans yet again that equal justice under the law is no longer an integral part of the American system.

Image: John Kerry meeting with Mohammad Zarif. YouTube screen grab.

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