Skip to comments.U.S. spy: Iran training Iraqis to use explosives
Posted on 03/01/2007 3:21:35 PM PST by presidio9
Iran is training anti-American Iraqi Shi'ites at sites inside Iran and Lebanon in the use of armor-piercing munitions blamed for the deaths of 170 U.S. troops in Iraq, a top U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, newly installed U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell said it was "probable" that Iranian leaders including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were aware that weapons known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, had been supplied to Iraqi Shi'ites.
But he and other senior intelligence officials told a hearing on threats to the United States that al Qaeda remained the greatest threat facing the United States and had reestablished itself in Pakistan since being driven out of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.
"We inflicted a major blow. They retreated to another area. And they are going through a process to reestablish and rebuild, adapting to the seams, or the weak spots," McConnell said in his first congressional testimony as the U.S. director of national intelligence.
McConnell, a retired Navy admiral and career military intelligence officer, took over the intelligence chief's job a week ago, replacing John Negroponte who was sworn in on Tuesday as the new deputy secretary of state.
In describing Iran's role in Iraq, he stopped short of he stopped short of saying the Islamic Republic was directing EFP attacks on U.S. forces.
"We know there are Iranian weapons manufactured in Iran.
We know that Quds Forces (of Iran's Revolutionary Guards) are bringing them (into Iraq)," McConnell said.
"Is there a direct link from Quds Forces delivering weapons, to the most senior leadership in Iran?" he said. "I would phrase it as 'probable' but, again, no direct link ... I am comfortable saying it's probable."
Under questioning by Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples tersely acknowledged that the United States has evidence showing that Iran is training Iraqi Shi'ites at sites outside Iraq to use EFPs.
"And some of that training is occurring in Iran?" asked Lieberman.
"Yes, sir," Maples replied.
"I've heard reports that some may be occurring in Lebanon in Hezbollah training camps," Lieberman said.
"We believe Hezbollah is involved in the training as well," Maples answered.
Tehran denies any role in supplying the arms, and other U.S. officials including President George W. Bush have said the United States cannot prove complicity by Iran's leaders.
"If Iran is training Iraqi militants in the use of Iranian weapons which are then being used to kill Americans in Iraq, I think that's a very serious act and one that we ought to consider taking steps to stop," Lieberman said.
McConnell's comments were the latest in a series of assertions by U.S. military and intelligence officials that Iran is behind the appearance of EFPS in Iraq, where the weapons have been able to pierce some of the heaviest U.S. armor.
Critics of the Bush administration have cast doubt on U.S. assertions of a role by Iran in violence against U.S. forces at a time when combative U.S. rhetoric toward Tehran has raised concerns about a possible U.S. military strike on Iran.
"The intelligence community ... is burdened by skepticism about the accuracy of its assessments due to poor performance and manipulation of intelligence on Iraq prior to the invasion," noted committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), a Michigan Democrat.
Officials said Iran's influence in Iraq has grown steadily since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and predicted Iraq's postwar government would have great difficulty overcoming sectarian violence and achieving reconciliation between Shi'ites and Sunnis.
"Iraqi political leaders have close to impossible tasks," McConnell said.
Iran needs to be smacked soon. And HARD.
Tactical nukes on it's nuke facilities and a good hit on any possible supply lines to Iraq.
We are a super power. We should act like it for a change on these matters. Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq. That is an act of war in my mind.
Iran is the cause of 2/3 - 3/4 of the problems in the middle east. With Iranian oil backing, a lot of the middle east problems would be brought way down to size. They won't disappear, but they'll be minimized.
iran is the swamp where the middle east fever is spreading from and has been for 25 years now.
DRAIN THE SWAMP ALREADY!!
I think that's a very serious act and one that we ought to consider taking steps to stop," Lieberman said.
From Joe's lips to God's ears! I would like to see some explosions in some of these staging camps.