Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ahead of Deal, Top Intel Organization Plays Down Iran's Sponsorship of Terrorism

    Sunday night, Stephen Hayes noted (via Twitter) a Times of Israel article that the 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities delivered annually by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to a Senate committee had "removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats" after having been included in prior years.
    For each of at least the past four years, the report from Clapper has featured a section early in the document entitled "Terrorism". In the 2015 report, that section spans pages 4 and 5 of the report and is completely silent about both Iran and Hezbollah. Other sections of the report mention Iran as a cyber threat and talk about Iran's nuclear program as a potential threat, but even when discussing specific threats country by country, the section dedicated to Iran (four paragraphs on page 14) does not mention terrorism as a reason that nation is an "ongoing threat" to the United States. The open sentence reads:
The Islamic Republic of Iran is an ongoing threat to US national interests because of its support to the Asad regime in Syria, promulgation of anti-Israeli policies, development of advanced military capabilities, and pursuit of its nuclear program.
     In stark contrast to the 2015 report, each of the three preceding reports not only singles out Iran for terrorism, but actually gives the country (sometimes paired with Hezbollah) its own subheading. Here are excerpts from the Terrorism section of each of those three reports:




    As Hayes noted on Twitter regarding the removal by US intelligence of Iran and Hezbollah as worldwide terror threats, "If true, jaw-dropping." This closer look at the last four annual reports seems to indicate that it is indeed true.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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