Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted in a letter to several top U.S. Senators that the Obama administration excluded references to the Iranian government's continued global terrorism threat in the 2015 World Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
“A specific reference to the terrorist threat from Iran and Hizballah—which was not included in any of the drafts of the testimony [offered before lawmakers]—would have been appropriate for the 2015 Assessment, but the lack of its inclusion is in no way a change in the [intelligence community’s] assessment,” Clapper wrote.
One senior congressional staffer said that under the Obama administration has repeatedly sought to downplay the Iranian terrorist threat.
“Whether you’re talking about the U.S. Intelligence Community’s annual Worldwide Threats assessment, the Pentagon’s ever-shrinking annual report on Iran’s military power, or official hints that the pro-terror Iranian regime could somehow be an ally against terrorism in the Middle East, the Obama Administration seems eager to downplay the dangers posed by Iran as negotiators close in on a comprehensive nuclear agreement,” said the staffer, who spoke off the record.
“Any objective reading of Director Clapper’s annual threat assessment leaves the impression that terrorist violence is limited to Sunni extremists, raising serious doubts about the credibility of the analysis. I welcome Director Clapper’s recognition of that error, but I remain concerned about the administration’s priorities.
“Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their respective affiliates represent significant threats to our nation, but this administration cannot overlook Iran’s support for terrorism, especially as it concludes an unwise nuclear deal with a regime that undermines American interests at every opportunity.
“If Director Clapper expects us to take future assessments seriously, he must strive to fairly inform policymakers and educate the American people about the threats we face, without editorializing," U.S Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said.
“As the Obama administration further concedes to Iranian demands for a nuclear deal with weak terms, Director of National Intelligence Clapper’s letter soberly reminds Congress that Iran remains a grave and gathering threat.
“No American lawmaker will be able to claim ignorance when a final deal’s sanctions relief allows Iran to funnel billions to Hezbollah, Syria’s Assad regime, Shia militias in Iraq, Houthi militants, and other destabilizing actors in the region,” U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said.