Department of Justice official says the administration has solid evidence, but isn’t indicting two Iranians due to its desire to conclude a nuclear deal.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The United States has solid evidence of an Iranian plot to assassinate two former top government officials but is refraining from legal action because the administration is afraid of torpedoing a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, the Washington Examiner reported Monday.
According to the news magazine’s source in the Department of Justice (DOJ), American officials uncovered a plan by at least two members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force to kill former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to the source, the men had engaged in serious reconnaissance of their targets and had even tried to hire an assassin “on U.S. soil.” The Americans, who knew what was going on already at an early stage, countered by assigning Bolton a full-time Secret Service detail either late last year or early this year with “high level of enhanced capability,” said the report.
Pompeo has been guarded intensely since he left office at the end of the Trump administration. This ongoing, unusual protection has been granted due to the express threats made against him by Iranian leaders for his role in the January 2020 assassination in Iraq of Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Former president Donald Trump and his former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, were two others named on Iran’s “revenge list” as far back as September 2020. The hawkish, openly anti-clerical Bolton was among 51 Americans that Iran put on a mostly-symbolic sanctions list on January’s second anniversary of the assassination for their “terrorist” roles in the attack.
At the time, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talked tough, stating, “Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the United States now and those who formerly served.
“Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 51 people named yesterday,” he added, “it will face severe consequences.”
The DOJ source told the Washington Examiner that the legal, security and intelligence personnel involved in the case are discouraged and angry that no indictment has been filed as yet against the two men. They suspect that the delay is being ordered from the top, since the Biden administration strongly desires to conclude a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, which is expected very shortly.
Such legal action would undoubtedly anger the mullahcracy, which has recently demanded that the U.S. take the IRGC off its list of designated terror organizations as part of the American concessions to get the deal signed and delivered.
A DOJ spokesman rejected the idea that any political concerns are a factor, stating, “It would be categorically false to claim that these kinds of policy considerations would drive such a charging decision.”
“In every case, the Department’s decision whether to charge would be made based on the facts and law and in accordance with the principles of federal prosecution.”