A Warning on Iran

Wall Street Journal

James Clapper exposes the regime’s domestic terror threat.

Remember that bizarre story from last fall about an Iranian agent based in Texas who allegedly sought to conspire with Mexican drug gangs to blow up Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. in a crowded Washington, D.C., restaurant? The Justice Department insisted the story was true. Yet the Administration’s reaction was otherwise muted, and the press corps went out of its way to cast doubt on the story. The Iranians can’t be that crazy?

Well, yes, they can be, at least according to President Obama’s top intelligence adviser. In testimony yesterday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that Iran’s leadership, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, « have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States as a response to real or perceived actions that threaten the regime. »

Translation: Not only is Iran prepared to use terrorism in retaliation for any military strikes against it, they’re also prepared to get their retaliation in first. « There is more to unfold here, » he said. « They’re trying to penetrate and engage in this hemisphere. »

Mr. Clapper, a former Air Force general, is not given to flights of exaggeration. That should give his warnings some weight, especially among those who believe that, for all the aggressive rhetoric, Iranian leaders conduct foreign policy in a prudent and rational way and are amenable to negotiations.

Mr. Clapper’s testimony comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning that Iran is about a year away from having a nuclear bomb. So here’s a question to those who oppose military strikes on Iran: If the regime is prepared to stage terrorist strikes in America when they don’t have a bomb, what will they be capable of when they do have one?

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