Express, by Oliver Pritchard-Jones: Intelligence officials revealed that the rogue state is threatening to target Fort McNair near Washington DC and the Army’s vice chief of staff. They said communications intercepted by the National Security Agency in January showed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussed mounting “USS Cole-style attacks” against the base.
This is referring to the October 2000 suicide attack in which a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 sailors.
The intercepted chatter centered on potential military options to avenge the US killing of the former Quds leader, General Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad in January 2020, the two intelligence officials said.
Tehran’s military commanders are reportedly unsatisfied with their counterattacks so far, specifically the results of the ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq in the days after Soleimani’s killing.
No US service members were killed in that strike but dozens suffered concussions.
It comes as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that Iran did not trust US promises on lifting sanctions and that Tehran would only go back to its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal after Washington fully ends the sanctions.
He said: “We trusted America at the time of (former US President Barack) Obama and fulfilled our commitments. But they didn’t.
“The Americans said on paper that sanctions will be lifted, but they didn’t lift sanctions in practice,” Khamenei said in a speech on state TV.
“Their promises have no credibility for us.”
The intelligence also revealed threats to kill General Joseph M. Martin, according to the officials.
The base, one of the oldest in America, is General Martin’s official residence.
The threats are one reason the Army has been pushing for more security around Fort McNair, which sits alongside Washington’s bustling newly developed Waterfront District.
City leaders have been fighting the Army’s plan to add a buffer zone of about 250 feet to 500 feet from the shore of the Washington Channel, which would limit access to as much as half the width of the busy waterway running parallel to the Potomac River.
The Pentagon, National Security Council and NSA either did not reply or declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
As District of Columbia officials have fought the enhanced security along the channel, the Army has offered only vague information about threats to the base.
At a virtual meeting in January to discuss the proposed restrictions, Army Major General Omar Jones, commander of the Military District of Washington, cited “credible and specific” threats against military leaders who live on the base.
But the only specific security threat he offered was about a swimmer who ended up on the base and was arrested.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s sole representative in Congress, told the AP that in the two months since the January meeting, the Pentagon has not provided her any additional information that would justify the restrictions around Fort McNair.
“I have asked the Department of Defense to withdraw the rule because I’ve seen no evidence of a credible threat that would support the proposed restriction,” Ms. Norton said.
“They have been trying to get their way, but their proposal is more restrictive than necessary.”
She added: “I have a security clearance. And they have yet to show me any classified evidence that would justify the proposal.”
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:6, 7.