Amid the controversy surrounding White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s alleged conversations with Russia, it may be instrumental to recall that representatives for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign were accused of meeting with Hamas and Iran.
Depending on what took place, the alleged contacts with Iran may have violated the Logan Act, which bars citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in dispute with the United States. It may be questionable whether Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, legally qualifies as a foreign government.
In 2008, Robert Malley stepped down as an informal foreign policy adviser to Obama’s campaign when it was revealed that he met with Hamas members.
Malley admitted to the meetings, but he claimed he met with the terrorists as part of his private job.
“I have never hidden the fact that I had meetings with Hamas,” Malley wrote in an open letter published in the New York Times. “I do this as part of my job as Middle East program director at the International Crisis Group.”
He said he distanced himself from Obama’s campaign because the Hamas meetings were “becoming a distraction to me and to Senator Obama’s campaign, and to avoid any misperception — misrepresentation being the more accurate word — about the candidate’s position regarding the Islamist movement.”
He was also named Obama’s special adviser regarding the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, in August 2014, Michael Ledeen, a former consultant to the National Security Council and U.S. Defense Department, penned a column at PJ Media stating Obama opened a back-channel to Iran during the 2008 presidential campaign. Ledeen said the back channel went through retired Ambassador William G. Miller, who also led the 1979 negotiating mission during the Iran hostage crisis. Ladeen wrote that Miller confirmed his back-channel involvement to him.