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President Obama holds a meeting in the Situation Room with top security aides including Colin Kahl. Photo: Lawrence Jackson/Corbis via Getty Images

"Officials linked to Trump's team" hired a private Israeli intelligence firm to collect "dirty ops" against the Obama administration officials who brokered the Iran nuclear deal, reports The Guardian.

The details: The campaign reportedly targeted Obama security aides Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, and a source familiar with the efforts told The Guardian, “The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.”

  • The Trump aides reportedly contacted the Israeli investigators days after President Trump's trip to Tel Aviv last year, which was his first trip abroad as president.
  • "According to incendiary documents seen by the [Guardian's] Observer, investigators contracted by the private intelligence agency were told to dig into the personal lives and political careers of Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and Kahl, a national security adviser to the former vice-president Joe Biden."
  • "Among other things they were looking at personal relationships, any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists, and if they had benefited personally or politically from the peace deal."
  • "Investigators were also apparently told to contact prominent Iranian Americans as well as pro-deal journalists — from the New York Times, MSNBC television, the Atlantic, Vox website and Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper among others — who had frequent contact with Rhodes and Kahl in an attempt to establish whether they had violated any protocols by sharing sensitive intelligence."

Kahl responded to the Guardian's story with a Twitter thread recounting an experience last year in which his wife was suspiciously contacted by "someone claiming to represent a socially responsible private equity firm in the UK."

  • "This person had all sorts of specific information on my wife's volunteer duties at an obscure DC elementary school."
  • "Perhaps it was just a coincidence that this obvious scam targeting my family had all the hallmarks of an intel op and coincided with Team Trump's reported efforts to 'dig up dirt' on me."
  • Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen notes that the fake firm that contacted Kahl's wife is the same one that The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow reports targeted Harvey Weinstein's accusers.

Go deeper

36 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.