No Red Phone for Dennis Ross


Haaretz is reporting that Dennis Ross is still advising the White House, in an unofficial capacity.

Barak Ravid, the paper’s diplomatic reporter, also says: "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."

Ross returned to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy after he left his post as the top White House official advising the president on the Middle East..

The "red phone," Ravid reports, citing two sources — a U.S. official and an Israeli academic —  "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."

An administration official confirms to me Ravid’s original reporting that Ross is indeed continuing to consult with the Obama administration — but quashes the bit about the "red phone." Here’s the statement in full:

Ambassador Ross has extensive experience in the Middle East and is serving as an unpaid advisor on Middle East issues.  This is not uncommon.  The State Department has relied on senior experts in the past. There’s no “secure phone” at WINEP.


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