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Mon Feb 20, 2012, 02:38 PM

Dennis Ross’ ‘Red Line’ To The White House [View all]

By Barak Ravid

Last week I published an article in Haaretz which stated that Dennis Ross, who had left the White House in November after more than two years as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, is still advising President Barack Obama even in his old-new position as a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Following the report, two independent sources approached me – one an Israeli academic, and the second a U.S. official. Both sources divulged a small, but very significant detail that clarified just how much Ross is still involved in framing U.S. policy regarding Israel and the Middle East.

Apparently, a short while after Ross left his position in the Obama administration, the White House made an unusual request to install a secure phone line in Ross' office at the Washington Institute. The secure line is known in Israel as a "red phone", which could be used to discuss confidential information without the risk of wiretapping.

In America, the term “red telephone” brings back memories of the Cold War and apocalyptic films such as of Dr. Strangelove. Guarded telephones in the U.S. Department of State as well as those in the White House are mostly white or gray. One of them sits in Dennis Ross’ office in his research institute, through which Ross receives updates regarding classified government information connected to his profession. There aren’t many independent researchers that receive such privileges.



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