US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid testify before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on threats to the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 31, 2023.

Iran Has Tried to Kill American Officials On US Soil, FBI Says

Thursday, 11/02/2023

FBI director Christopher Wray told US lawmakers on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic has tried to kill American officials, even within the United States.

Testifying in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Wray said the regime in Iran has “mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former US government officials" either directly or by hiring criminals, and including “on American soil.”

Since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, Iran and its proxies have become subjects of unprecedented scrutiny in Washington.

Wray was called to testify in the Senate in the light of attacks on American forces in the Middle East, which seems to be on the rise despite repeated warnings to Iran-aligned forces from the Biden administration.

In the last two weeks, US troops in Syria and Iraq have been attacked 27 times. The Pentagon has said that it holds the Islamic Republic responsible “for all attacks.”

Reports emerged early hours Thursday of yet more attacks on US bases in Iraq.

“Explosions have been reported once again in the US Forces Bases… in Eastern Syria,” Intelligence Monitor posted on X, “This would be at least the 37th Attack on US Forces in the Middle East since October 7th.”

In his opening remarks to the Senate hearing, Wrey warned that cyber targeting of “American interests and critical infrastructure” could get worse “if the conflict expands.”

“Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of seeding operatives and infrastructure,” Wray said, “obtaining money and weapons, and spying in this country going back years.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrollah is scheduled to deliver a speech Friday afternoon in what would be his first televised address since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. The group’s channels have been publishing mysterious teasers of Nasrollah, giving rise to speculations that he would declare war on Israel.

President Joe Biden’s critics say his lenient approach towards Iran has emboldened the Islamic regime.

“This administration has allowed over 100 attacks in the last two years,” Congressman Mike Waltz said to Fox News. “Iran will trade the lives of its proxies in Iraq or Syria or Lebanon for American and Israeli lives. All day long. That’s a good deal for the ayatollah. Only when they feel the pain, will they stop.”

Republican Senator John Kennedy seconded Waltz sentiment in another interview with Fox News Wednesday. “Parts of the world are on fire, why is that? In part, it’s because Pres. Biden has sent every message of weakness possible to Iran, China, and Russia.”

To rectify what they see as a failure of the Democratic administration, the Republican lawmakers have drafted "the toughest Iran sanctions package ever proposed by Congress”, which would stop the Biden administration from "lifting sanctions until Iran ceases its support for terrorism," including Hamas.

“The Biden admin has failed to take actions,” wrote Senator Joni Ernst on her X, sharing a clip of Chris Rey at the Senate hearing. “My PUNISH Act will put an end to this appeasement and ensure Iran feels maximum repercussions.”

Part of the new legislative initiative is a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Joni Ernst and Richard Blumenthal, which enables Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to enforce oil sanctions “to cut off Iran’s funding for its terrorist proxies.”

Since 2021, Iran has increased its oil revenue by $80 billion.

Biden critics say this money has been used by the IRGC to fund Hamas, Hezbollah and other militant groups in the region. Some believe that ditching the Trump policy of ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran has cost the US dearly.

“The Trump administration’s decisive actions told the Iranian regime that real consequences come when you threaten the United States,” Representative Mark Green said Wednesday. “That message has been lost under the Biden administration, and our adversaries know it.

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