New reports have revealed an assassination plot against former national security adviser John Bolton by at least two Iranians belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ covert-action Quds Force. According to a Justice Department official the department possesses indictable evidence against the Iranians but Biden administration officials are resisting publicly indicting the men over concern that it could deter their drive for a nuclear deal with Iran.
According to reports from The Washington Examiner:
It is possible but unlikely that there are sealed indictments against the men, but the DOJ source said the seriousness of the conspiracy and the evidence warranted public indictment without delay. Sealed indictments would be unusual and probably unnecessary in this case, as they are usually used to prevent the target evading justice. The Quds Force is fully aware of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence attention toward it, so its members are unlikely to put themselves in a position to be arrested with or without a sealed indictment.
The Washington Examiner is withholding some details of the plot against Bolton for national security reasons, but the DOJ source described it in highly specific terms as supported by significant Revolutionary Guard reconnaissance activity and involved an effort to recruit an assassin on U.S. soil. A Justice Department official told the Washington Examiner that “it would be categorically false to claim that these kinds of policy considerations would drive such a charging decision.”
The intelligence community became aware of the plot at an early stage, and it prompted high-level concern and a full-time Secret Service protective detail being assigned to Bolton earlier this year or late in 2021. Significant FBI assets were also deployed to disrupt the plot and assist in protecting Bolton. The plot is also believed to have precipitated national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s Jan. 9 warning to Iran that the U.S. would protect officials “serving the United States now and those who formerly served.”
Similar threats from Iran have emerged against other Trump administration officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The Justice Department source said prosecutors, FBI agents, and intelligence community personnel involved in disrupting the plot against Bolton are frustrated and angry that there have been no indictments and suspect political foot-dragging. The official added that Bolton and Pompeo were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements in return for their being briefed on classified intelligence related to the threats against them. Bolton and Pompeo declined to comment for this story.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards particularly despise Bolton and Pompeo, who they view as leading former President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime. A source within the DOJ speculates the true motive behind the assassination plots comes from the 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani.