Former Obama officials pan conspiracy memo that reportedly circulated in Trump White House

Multiple former Obama administration officials on Thursday blasted news that a reported memo accusing top Obama officials of operating a media campaign aimed at undermining President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE's foreign policy efforts had circulated in the Trump White House last year.

The New Yorker's Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow reported Thursday that Trump advisers circulated a memo titled "The Echo Chamber" last year that accused former deputy national-security adviser Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, a former national security adviser to Vice President Biden, of running such an effort after leaving the administration.

The memo claimed that Rhodes is “likely the brain behind this operation” while dubbing Kahl as its "likely ops chief."


“These are the Obama loyalists who are probably among those coordinating the daily/weekly battle rhythm,” the memo said, according to The New Yorker.

“Rhodes and Kahl are suspected to make use of privileged access and information leveraging it against the incumbent administration," it continued.

The memo, which is reportedly unsigned and undated, was circulated within the National Security Council (NSC) and other parts of the Trump White House early last year, unnamed Trump administration officials told The New Yorker.

A spokesperson for the NSC declined to comment for the article.

Both Rhodes and Kahl denied in The New Yorker article the existence of any coordinated effort to attack the Trump presidency, with Kahl describing the reported memo in a Twitter thread as an effort to weaponize the NSC against political opponents.

"The fact that a memo like this even exists is a scandal. The NSC's role to staff the President & coordinate the interagency on foreign policy—it is NOT the job of the NSC to map and target domestic political opponents or collude with outside allies to do so," he wrote.

Rhodes called it “a bizarre effort to validate ‘deep state’ conspiracy theories” and said that “given Trump’s many efforts to intimidate and malign his critics, it’s worth asking how his White House and outside enablers acted on this strange memo," according to a statement reported by The New Yorker.

Other former members of the Obama administration who were named as possible members of the alleged group attacked the report publicly on Twitter, describing it as a sinister and paranoid conspiracy theory.

"Wow @jonfavs @TVietor08 @danpfeiffer: who knew that building one of the fastest growing media companies in America was just an elaborate cover for a conspiracy to undermine Trump's foreign policy?" wrote Ronald Klain, Biden's former chief of staff who helmed the Obama administration's response to the Ebola crisis in 2014.

"What’s so chilling about this Trump NSC doc—naming several of my former colleagues and me—is that it’s written as if it were a study of an overseas terrorist cell targeted by the US govt," added Ned Price, who previously served as a spokesman for the NSC under former President Obama. "I used to write those. I never thought I'd see one like this."

A number of former Obama administration officials have sharply criticized the Trump administration on issues such as the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear accord, though have dismissed the idea of a "deep state" conspiracy working to thwart the president and his agenda through various government agencies.