Iran-Hezb'allah: 'They Already Hit the Homeland 10½ Years Ago'

At the mid-March 2012 congressional hearings on the "Iran-Hezb'allah Threat to the Homeland," chaired by Representative Peter King, top officials from the DEA, the FBI, and the New York City Police Department, as well as senior scholars addressed the alarming capability and motivation of this Axis of Jihad to strike inside the U.S.  Critical and timely, this was the latest in a series of hearings that Rep. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has held to focus attention on the deadly threat to America's national security from the forces of Islamic jihad and sharia.  There was an unmentioned elephant in the room this time, though, and that was 9/11--when the terror alliance of al-Qaeda, Iran, and Hezb'allah joined forces to hit the homeland for the first time ten and a half years ago.

Perhaps taking their cue from the apparently oblivious director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, the panel of witnesses spoke of Iranian willingness to attack the U.S. homeland in terms of some kind of hypothetical developing threat.  Indeed, Gen. Clapper told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in late January 2012 "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." 

It is difficult to know where to start, but a logical point would be the mid-1980s, in the depths of the horrific Iran-Iraq war, when the Ayatollah Khomeini commanded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to "get the bomb."  That order is public knowledge, a quarter of a century old, and, the duplicitous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran notwithstanding, it has never been rescinded during the 24-year reign of Khomeini's successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.  That weapon is now nearing deployment status in the hands of the Iranian regime, a regime known by the intelligence community to have been connected in terrorist alliances with Hezb'allah and al-Qaeda for decades.  That terror team has struck Americans at home and abroad, repeatedly, for decades.  That terror team -- Iran, Hezb'allah, and al-Qaeda -- has been at war with the U.S. for decades, despite the inexplicable unwillingness of American leadership to acknowledge that what we face is indeed an enemy alliance.

Fast forward to the 9/11 Commission Report, which came out in 2004.  There are multiple references in that voluminous document about the Iran-Hezb'allah-al-Qaeda operational relationship: its early 1990s origins in Sudan; first joint terror operations at Khobar Towers, the East Africa Embassies, and the USS Cole; and continuing post-9/11 alliance.  Moreover, because Commission staffers discovered only at the last minute before the report went to press a treasure trove of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents which constitute the archives of the U.S. Intelligence Community about the Iran-Hezb'allah-al-Qaeda relationship, that material could be included in the final report only in a limited fashion.   

Quite apart from those Commission Report references, however, Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York ruled in federal court on 22 December 2011 that Iran and Hezb'allah provided "direct and material support" to al-Qaeda in the attacks of 9/11, assistance without which the attacks could not have taken place.  The so-called Havlish case and Judge Daniels' ruling have not been tucked away in some obscure database, accessible only to the legal community; they've been posted online at for three months now, complete with the Order of Judgment; Findings of Fact and Law; and all nine affidavits plus declarations, other testimony, and supporting documents.  The media have been alerted to the ruling, as have members of Congress.  The CIA apparently was so embarrassed by the ruling that an operative identifying himself as a CIA official tracked down Iranian defector witnesses in the case and attempted to suborn their testimony using bribery and intimidation.

The American people and especially the family and loved ones of 9/11 victims deserve to know that Congress and the U.S. government are committed to holding Iran and Hezb'allah, as well as al-Qaeda, accountable for their role in murdering nearly 3,000 people on American soil more than 10 years ago.  It is time that the whole truth about that atrocity is told.  A good place to start would be with a thorough review of those NSA documents.  If the U.S. government doesn't even have the courage to demand accountability from Iran and Hezb'allah for the worst terrorist attacks the homeland has ever suffered, how can they or al-Qaeda or any Islamic jihadis be convinced that we will ever stand up to them, no matter what they do to us?  

Clare M. Lopez is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and an expert witness in the Havlish case.