Congress Members Frustrated by Secret Iran Nuclear Agreements and Hidden Unclassified Documents
Crucial aspects of the Iran nuclear deal remain hidden from the public, and in some instances, from the American government, Bloomberg reports.
In a closed-door session with House members Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that two side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were reached. Kerry said he neither read nor possesses the secret agreements.
According to U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee who attended the closed-door session, Congress also is in the dark on these agreements.
"Kerry told me directly that he has not read the secret side deals. He told us the State Department does not have possession of these documents," Pompeo told Bloomberg View columnists Josh Rogin and Eli Lake.
Furthermore, other secret agreements kept from the public were presented to Congress on Monday – part of 18 documents the White House were required to disclose – including secret letters of understanding between the U.S., France, Germany , and the United Kingdom that outline some of the ambiguous aspects of the nuclear deal.
Seventeen of these documents are unclassified, yet they are stored in ultra-secure facilities intended for top-secret information, the Daily Beast reports. These extraordinary precautions indicate that the Obama administration is seeking to keep unclassified documents from reaching the public.
"A lot of both documents and discussion that have been held in a classified setting doesn't have classified characteristics to it... to the extent that many [documents aren't classified,] they should be made totally public, as far as I'm concerned, so that the public can evaluate for themselves," U.S. Sen Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told the Daily Beast.
IAEA officials told Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that the two side deals involve IAEA inspections of the Parchin military complex and how Iran and the IAEA would address concerns regarding the military dimensions of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
The Obama Administration is only required to pass documents in its possession to Congress, therefore the side deals cannot be presented to Congress or the U.S. public.
"Kerry gave no indications they are seeking these documents and there is no indication he is the least bit worried he doesn't have access to this. The Ayatollah [Khamenei] knows what's in the deal but we don't," Pompeo told Bloomberg.
These elements of secrecy regarding unclassified documents hidden from the public and side agreements without U.S. knowledge seem to directly contradict Preside Obama's argument that the Iran nuclear deal is verifiable and transparent.