Speaking firms that represent at least two other former government officials who have been paid by a network of supporters of the Iranian opposition group MEK have received subpoenas from the Treasury Department, NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported Friday.
In addition to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), the list of officials whose speaking agencies have received subpoenas now includes former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton.
Rendell told Isikoff that Freeh and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey (who told TPM he had no comment on the probe earlier this week) were hiring a lawyer to represent all the officials caught up in the probe.
“This is about finding out where the money is coming from,” an Obama administration official familiar with the probe told Isikoff. “This has been a source of enormous concern for a long time now. You have to ask the question, whether this is a prima facie case of material support for terrorism.”
Isikoff writes that it wasn’t entirely clear why the Treasury Department began pushing the probe now, over a year after the lobbying campaign got underway. But he says that a small Pennsylvania-based firm called Speakers Access wrote an email to a national security expert asking the individual to speak in Switzerland “on behalf of our client, National Council of Resistance of Iran, Foreign Affairs Committee.”
The email was turned over to the FBI and other U.S. officials because the National Council of Resistance is considered to be an alias of the MEK, designated as a terror group. The executive who wrote the email told Isikoff the email was a “mistake” and said the actual client was “the Committee for Human Rights in Iran,” which Isikoff points out has the same contact in Paris as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.