As you’ve likely heard, the US government is reporting this afternoon that it has broken up a plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington and to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington. Our reporter is at the press conference which is underway at this moment — so we’ll be reporting more shortly.
Here are the two keys though: Listening to the press conference the Justice Department is pushing very hard on the claim of Iranian government complicity. AG Holder spoke of “factions of the Iranian government” being involved. Needless to say, the claim that Iran would try to mount a violent attack in the US capital and trying to assassinate allied foreign ambassadors would have vast and dramatic international implications, to put it mildly. And no doubt — as I listen to the discussion at the press conference — the DOJ officials are pushing the Iranian government role very hard.
Second, the claim is that agents working on behalf or in league with the Iranian government allegedly approached Mexican drug cartels for assistance carrying out the assassination/attack. Given the controversy over the US-Mexican border, the idea that Mexican drug cartels might be involved in such an attack is sure to shoot that controversy to the moon as well.
Our initial read of the court documents suggests that FBI and DEA agents were involved from the first. We’ll bring you more shortly. It sounds at this point that the plot was aspirational until US government agents became involved and worked with the alleged conspirators to move it toward operational.Here’s the start of the transcript of Holder’s statement, emphasis added.
Today, the Department of Justice is announcing charges against two people who allegedly attempted to carry out a deadly plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador here in the United States.
Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds an Iranian passport and was arrested last month in New York, is accused of working with members of an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to devise an international murder-for-hire scheme targeting the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States.
According to the complaint filed today in the Southern District of New York, Arbabsiar is alleged to have orchestrated a $1.5 million assassination plot with Gholam Shakuri, an Iranian-based member of the Qods Force, and other Iranian co-conspirators.
Late Update: Here’s our report.
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