KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
American intelligence officials believe that Iran might be willing to conduct attacks inside the United States. That was the big take-away from the prepared testimony Director of National Intelligence James Clapper delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
The Washington Post explains that the concerns arose after the alleged plot by the Islamic Republic to assassinate the Saudi ambassador while he was in Washington came to light last year. According to Clapper, that incident "shows that some Iranian officials—probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."
Clapper added: "We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas."
As the Post explains, up until now, the United States had been cautious about publicly stating exactly how high up they thought the alleged plot went in the Iranian government. Clapper's testimony was the first time that Khamenei has been mentioned by name in connection to the alleged plot.
Iran was of chief concern at the annual assessment of threats to U.S. security. Tensions have risen between the two countries in recent months, as Iran faces oil sanctions from the West, and the West contends with the possibility of Iran possessing technology to build a nuclear weapon.
Also discussed as a major threat were increased spying capabilities—including of the cyber variety— of China, Russia, and Iran, Reuters notes.