Live stream of the press conference here. AG Eric Holder is announcing charges against two people. More to follow.
Update: FBI Director Robert Mueller says that Iranian individuals sought to work with a drug cartel to attempt to assassinate an American official.
Update: Make that a Saudi official, on American soil. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is allegedly behind the plot. ABC News reports:
FBI and DEA agents have disrupted a plot to commit a “significant terrorist act in the United States” tied to Iran, federal officials told ABC News today.
The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.
Bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were also discussed, according to the U.S. officials.
The stunning allegations come against a backdrop of longstanding tensions between Iran and the United States and Saudi Arabia. In the last year, Saudi Arabia has attempted to build an anti-Iran alliance to push back against perceived aggression by Iran in the region.
The Iranian-American, identified by federal officials as Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, reportedly claimed he was being “directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government,” including a cousin who was “a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform,” according to a person briefed on the details of the case. Counter-terrorism officials said they believe the cousin may be part of the special operations unit of the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds force.
Arbabsiar and a second man, Gohlam Shakuri, an Iranian official, were named in a five-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in federal court in New York. They were charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, among other counts.
The complaint also refers to another Iranian official but does not name him.
Update: In the presser, US officials repeatedly said that they would “hold Iran accountable” for this plot, which includes elements of the Quds force, but when pressed by a reporter’s question, AG Holder did not specify what holding Iran accountable will mean.
Update: It’s interesting that the charges are being brought in New York. The plot action seems to have mostly taken place in Texas, with the would-be assassin meeting with DEA agents posing as Zeta drug cartel operatives. Is New York an operational or political choice? And what does the Zeta role say about Texans’ desire border security, which has been openly mocked by the president?
Update: Not to put too fine a point on things, but this was a cross-border terror attack in the making. Some of us have warned about this possibility for years, with the rise of the Mexican drug cartels and the encroachment of Hizballah into Mexico serving to heighten concern. Contrary to FBI Director Mueller’s statement today, that national borders have become “increasingly irrelevant,” such borders are more relevant than ever. Open borders are an invitation to lawlessness and mass murder.
Update: Like Ace, I’m not one to question the timing. But I do have a question or two about Eric Holder.
Why is that Eric Holder knows absolutely nothing about covert operations that end in disaster, but is presenting himself as a details guy in a covert operation that ended successfully?
Kind of convenient that he’s involved in the successes, but cannot for the life of him even remember the mere existence of operations gone awry.