Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CIA backs up my years-old warning on Iranian terror response

I've been saying this since Dubya-Cheney-Bolton were threatening to attack Iran preemptively. You don't need an intelligence report to figure this out, it's just logical: Iran can't beat the U.S. in a stand-up fight, so it will resort to terror tactics on American soil if the U.S. attacks them first.

My sad prediction is that U.S. neocons and Congressional chickenhawks will cite the CIA's recent testimony, perversely, as evidence that Iran is a clear and present danger to the U.S. and hence there is yet more reason to attack them preemptively. Mark my words.

By Greg Miller
January 31, 2012 | Washington Post

An assessment by U.S. spy agencies concludes that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States, highlighting new risks as the Obama administration escalates pressure on Tehran to halt its alleged pursuit of an atomic bomb.

In congressional testimony Tuesday, U.S. intelligence officials indicated that Iran has crossed a threshold in its adversarial relationship with the United States. While Iran has long been linked to attacks on American targets overseas, U.S. officials said they see troubling significance in Tehran's alleged role in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington last year.

U.S. officials said they have seen no intelligence to indicate that Iran is actively plotting attacks on U.S. soil. But Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said the thwarted plot "shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."


He and others testifying Tuesday indicated that their assessment of Iran's willingness to launch attacks in the United States stems mainly from a more-detailed understanding of the country's role in the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir.

As described by U.S. officials in October, the convoluted scheme was to rely on assassins from a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the killing at a restaurant in Washington.

U.S. officials said the plot was devised by an Iranian American with ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. But the plan was foiled when the would-be operative mistakenly hired a paid informant of the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry it out. Iranian officials have denied any role in the plot.

It was "so unusual and amateurish that many initially doubted that Iran was responsible," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in Tuesday's hearing. "Well, let me state for the record, I have no such a doubt."

Experts said Iran's willingness to back such a scheme may reflect a sense among Iran's leadership that prevailing against the United States and Israel may require adopting new, lower-percentage means of carrying out attacks.

"I see the Iranians feeling that they are under siege," said Daniel Byman, an Iran expert at Georgetown University and a former CIA analyst. Given Iran's resources and ties to terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Byman said that it is "plausible" that Iran already has agents inside the United States.


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