Report: US Intelligence Officials Say Iran Planned Terror Attacks on Washington, DC Army Base
Two senior American intelligence officials said that Iran is seeking to commit terror attacks on a US military base in Washington, DC, in what an Israeli security analyst said was an attempt to ratchet up pressure on the US before talks on a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that communications intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed discussions among Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to target the Fort McNair Army base, with plans to infiltrate, surveil, and bomb the base in an attack similar to that on the USS Cole in Oct. 2000 — an al-Qaeda bombing that killed 17 American naval personnel, and which was later seen as a precursor to the September 11 attacks.
There were also plans to assassinate US Gen. Joseph M. Martin, the Army’s vice chief of staff.
The organization behind the plans was Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ overseas terrorist wing, the Quds Force, which hoped to retaliate for the execution of their former terrorist chief, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2020. The group has made previous attempts to do so, including by attacking US personnel in Iraq, but members were reportedly unhappy with the results.
The Pentagon, National Security Council, and NSA were contacted by the AP but did not comment.
“Iran is determined to step up pressure on the US, as clearly reflected in today’s Nowruz speech by Khamenei,” veteran Israeli analyst Ehud Yaari told The Algemeiner, referring to remarks by Iran’s supreme leader on the occasion of the Persian new year.
Iran, he said, “will keep up attacks from Yemen and Iraq, insisting on lifting sanctions first” — before entering any talks.
Possible infiltration of Fort McNair has been an issue of contention between Army brass and DC officials, as the area around the base is the site of a major renewal project, with local officials opposing the Army’s plans to enhance security there.
At a meeting on the subject in January, the commander of the Military District of Washington, Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, said there were “credible and specific” threats to the base and the commanders who live there.
DC’s representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, dismissed the threats, saying, “I have a security clearance. And they have yet to show me any classified evidence.”
“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,” she said of the Army’s planned security measures. “They have been trying to get their way, but their proposal is more restrictive than necessary.”