Republicans are vowing to hold John Kerry accountable after it was revealed he may have leaked military secrets belonging to Israel, a top U.S. ally, to Iran, Breitbart reported.
Iran’s top foreign minister, in an audio recording leaked to The New York Times, said he was taken aback when Kerry told him Israel was behind “at least 200” attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. Republicans are calling on Kerry, who served as secretary of state in the Obama administration, to resign or face restrictions in his current role as President Joe Biden’s “climate czar.”
GOP vows to hold Kerry accountable
The disgust from Republicans has been universal, with some calling Kerry’s alleged indiscretion just the latest and most egregious example from a figure known to be cozy with Iran. Kerry was key to putting together President Obama’s Iran deal, which unraveled during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the reports “consistent with his long pattern of empowering Iran’s regime” and a black mark on Kerry’s character.
“If this tape is verified, it would signal catastrophic and disqualifying recklessness by Envoy Kerry to Foreign Minister Zarif that endangered the safety of Americans and our allies,” Cruz said.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said, “if this is true, John Kerry needs to go,” and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called for Kerry to be blocked from receiving classified intelligence. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Kerry had betrayed one of America’s “greatest partners.”
But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a top hawk, expressed some reservations, saying, “I don’t know if we should trust that tape or not. If it’s true, it’s very damaging.”
Kerry pushes back
Mike Pompeo, who led a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran as Trump’s secretary of state, took a shot at the Biden administration’s efforts to bring back the Iran deal, saying the report confirmed Kerry had inappropriate contacts lasting beyond his public service that warrant investigation.
The Washington Examiner notes that Israel publicly disclosed the attacks in 2018, and it remains unclear if Kerry relayed the information before that.
Both Kerry and the State Department have pushed back on the reports. Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson, said that “this certainly was not secret, and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly on the record.”
Kerry said the allegations are “unequivocally false,” adding, “This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since.”