Lawmakers Press for Classified Briefing on Iran's Assassination Plots

Republicans say Biden not doing enough to counter ‘credible threats’ on U.S. leaders

Hezbollah militants (Getty Images)
August 31, 2023

Congressional Republicans are pressing the Biden administration to hold a classified briefing on Iran’s efforts to assassinate American officials, citing ongoing and "credible threats" against former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and other U.S. leaders.

The lawmakers—led by Reps. Mark Green (R., Tenn.), the House Homeland Security chair, and August Pfluger (R., Texas)—are concerned the Biden administration is not doing enough to counter Iran’s assassination plots amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Already, the administration has completed a hostage deal with Iran that freed up billions of dollars in resources for the hardline regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terror group known for its efforts to kill Americans abroad.

"It is curious that while these egregious activities continue, the Biden administration is not taking actions to impose consequences on the Iranian regime and instead has renewed its push for a nuclear deal with Iran," the lawmakers write in a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and National Counterterrorism Center.

The lawmakers are asking for detailed information "about the number of active plots by Iran or its proxies against U.S. persons living in the United States, as well as information about your respective agencies’ coordination efforts for threat intelligence to counter Iran’s activities."

There is particular concern that the Iran-funded terror group Hezbollah has the capacity to carry out operations inside America. FBI director Christopher Wray outlined these threats during a public hearing last year when he disclosed that the "arrests of individuals in the United States allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland."

Amid the Biden administration’s diplomacy with Iran, that country’s leaders have made clear that they are trying to assassinate former Trump administration officials for their role in a 2020 drone strike that killed Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. These include active threats against Pompeo, his envoy Brian Hook, and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, who was the target of a foiled 2022 IRGC assassination plot.

Iran has repeatedly bragged about its assassination plots against Pompeo, Trump, and others, including as recently as June 2022, when a Tehran-linked social media account warned the former secretary of state to "live in fear." That message was accompanied by a picture of Pompeo with a target across his head.

The State Department, in comments to the Washington Free Beacon at the time, said it takes these threats seriously and is working to counter them.

"Make no mistake: the United States will protect and defend its citizens," a spokesman said. "This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served."

Iranian regime allies also have bragged about these death threats. Princeton professor and former Iranian ambassador Hussein Mousavian came under intense criticism last year when he appeared to brag about the death threats against Hook, the former Iran envoy.

House Homeland Security Committee chair Green said the Biden administration must make completely clear to Iran that these ongoing threats are unacceptable.

"No one who stands up to the Iranian regime should face retaliation on U.S. soil. As Iran and its proxies plan assassinations of U.S. national security officials and place bounties on the heads of journalists, the Biden administration must send the message that these threats to our homeland security will not be tolerated," Green told the Free Beacon. "It’s high time to show strength on the world stage, not weakness."