Iran's Revolutionary Guard threatened to attack Fort McNair in Washington and kill US Army chief General Joseph Martin
IRAN has threatened to attack Fort McNair in Washington DC and kill the Army’s vice chief of staff, senior US intelligence officials said.
They said communications intercepted by the National Security Agency in January showed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was discussing this.
The Iranian military has looked at mounting USS Cole-style attacks against the base, referring to the October 2000 suicide attack in which a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 sailors.
The intelligence also revealed threats to kill Gen. Joseph M. Martin and plans to infiltrate and surveil the base, according to the officials.
The attack would be to avenge the US killing of the former Quds leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad in January last year, intelligence officials told Associated Press.
They said Tehran’s military commanders are unsatisfied with their counterattacks so far, specifically the results of the ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq in the days after Soleimani's killing.
No US service members were killed in that strike but dozens suffered concussions.
The threats are one reason the Army has been pushing for more security around Fort McNair, which sits alongside Washington's bustling newly developed Waterfront District.
City leaders have been fighting the Army’s plan to add a buffer zone of about 250 feet to 500 feet from the shore of the Washington Channel, which would limit access to as much as half the width of the busy waterway running parallel to the Potomac River.
The Pentagon, National Security Council and NSA either did not reply or declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
As District of Columbia officials have fought the enhanced security along the channel, the Army has offered only vague information about threats to the base.
At a virtual meeting in January to discuss the proposed restrictions, Army Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, commander of the Military District of Washington, cited credible and specific" threats against military leaders who live on the base. The only specific security threat he offered was about a swimmer who ended up on the base and was arrested.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s sole representative in Congress, was skeptical.
She said: “When it comes to swimmers, I’m sure that must be rare. Did he know where he was?
“Maybe he was just swimming and found his way to your shore?
Puzzled city officials and frustrated residents said the Army's request for the buffer zone was a government overreach of public waterways.
Discussions about the Fort McNair proposal began two years ago, but the recent intelligence gathered by the NSA has prompted Army officials to renew their request for the restrictions.
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