Jofi Joseph, the White House national security aide who was fired last week after it came to light that he was behind the trollish Twitter account @NatSecWonk, made some serious accusations against Ben Rhodes, a senior official close to President Obama. Joseph accused Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for communications, of leaking classified info about the Stuxnet virus to the press, The Daily Beast reports. Joseph made these accusations through @NatSecWonk over the summer, when he was anonymous.
Thus far, the @NatSecWonk tweets that have gotten the most attention were the ones in which he called famous women fat. But these tweets are more serious. The Stuxnet virus is the joint U.S.-Israeli cyber attack meant to sabotage Iran’s nuclear centrifuge program. In June, speculation mounted that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon was to blame for the leaks, but @NatSecWonk insisted it was Rhodes.
"Gotta imagine Ben Rhodes is lawyering up now that a leak investigation is underway. If anyone in the Obama White House leaked, it was him," Joseph tweeted. And then two days later: "Folks, even if a National Security Advisor wanted to leak, he wouldn’t be the one doing the leaking. His staff would #keepyoureyeonbenrhodes." Joseph did not present evidence for these allegations.
Later in June, NBC reported that the White House was investigating Marine General James Cartwright in relation to the leaks. Cartwright is credited with presenting Stuxnet to the White House in the first place.
Rhodes has declined to comment on Joseph's allegations, but former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, who worked for Rhodes from 2009 through 2012, told The Daily Beast that Joseph's claims have no merit:
"I sat 10 feet away from Ben for two years and have worked closely with him since 2007. The guy has spent more time trying to prevent the publication of damaging classified information than you could ever imagine. These allegations are flat wrong, and they’re completely ridiculous to anyone who knows Ben and the work he does at the White House."
Joseph hasn't commented on his allegations against Rhodes. He apologized for "the series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments" and "to everyone I insulted" this week.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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