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Benghazi Hearing: Hicks ‘stunned’ at Rice explanation

Deputy Chief of Mission Hicks said it best about Susan Rice’s statements on the Sunday morning talk shows in which she perpetuated the lies about Benghazi: “My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.  Someone must be held accountable for the Obama Administration’s purposeful lies about the terrorist attacks on our Ambassador and three other Americans on 9/11/12. — AA

(Guardian UK)

A top US official who was in Libya during the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi has given the first public account of the event.

Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, said he was “stunned” by UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments that the attack was spontaneous.

He also told lawmakers he received a phone call from US Envoy Christopher Stevens, just before he died.

Three other Americans were killed in the attack on 11 September 2012.


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My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed”

Gregory Hicks on his reaction to Susan Rice’s comments

During several hours of emotional testimony before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday, Mr Hicks described the moment he was informed of the attack.

He said he was in Tripoli watching TV when he received a phone call from Ambassador Stevens.

“Greg, we’re under attack,” the ambassador reportedly told Mr Hicks by telephone before the line cut.

He later received a phone call from the Libyan prime minister informing him of Ambassador Steven’s death.

“I think it is the saddest phone call I have ever had in my life,” Mr Hicks said.

After the disrupted phone call with Ambassador Stevens, Mr Hicks said he received calls from Libyans using the ambassador’s phone who said they had the envoy with them.

But Mr Hicks decided not to act on the calls, fearing an ambush.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice has been the focus of outrage from Republicans in Congress, for giving the news media what has been acknowledged as an incorrect explanation for the attack.

She said on a Sunday chat show on 16 September that the attack had grown out of an anti-US protest, while other officials have said they knew at the time it was an organised, armed assault, possibly by an Islamist militant group.

“My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.

Some Republicans accuse the White House of hiding information about the attack, while Democrats say the issue has become politicised.

The BBC’s Jane O’Brien in Washington says Wednesday’s testimony will do nothing to dispel Republican concerns that President Barack Obama tried to cover up a terrorist attack in the run-up to a presidential election.

Democrats will continue to say there was no attempt to mislead the public, our correspondents adds.

‘Need to evacuate’

At Wednesday’s hearing, Mr Hicks expressed frustration with the lack of a US military response during the night-time attack, saying one could have deterred a second assault.

The Pentagon has said nothing could have been done to assist the Americans in Benghazi.

Mr Hicks and two other state department employees criticised an official review undertaken after the attack, saying many people with first-hand knowledge of the event were not interviewed and it focused too much on lower-ranking officials.

The review found that poor leadership and management in two state department teams led to a security plan that was “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place”.

Mr Hicks told the panel he spoke to people at the State Department and to Libyan officials, and had a conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton around 02:00 on the night of the attack.

“Secretary of State Clinton called me along with her senior staff… and she asked me what was going on. And I briefed her on developments,” Mr Hicks told congressmen.

“Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens. It was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in Benghazi, and I told her that we would need to evacuate. She said that was the right thing to do.”

The ambassador died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped in the burning consulate building, after armed men stormed the compound.

State department employee Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty also died in the attack.

Mrs Clinton angrily defended her handling of the Benghazi raid in a series of hearings on Capitol Hill in January.

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Al-Qaida Puts Bounty on US Ambassador and Soldiers

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or an American soldier in the country.

An audio produced by the group’s media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday said it offered three kilograms of gold worth $160,000 for killing the ambassador, Gerald Feierstein.

The group said it will pay 5 million Yemeni riyals ($23,000) to anyone who kills an American soldier inside Yemen.

It said the offer is valid for six months.

The bounties were set to “inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad,” the statement said.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa did not respond to an Associated Press phone call asking for comment.

Washington considers al-Qaida in Yemen to be the group’s most dangerous branch.

The group overran entire towns and villages last year by taking advantage of a security lapse during nationwide protests that eventually ousted the country’s longtime ruler. Backed by the U.S. military experts based at a southern air base, Yemen’s army was able to regain control of the southern region, but al-Qaida militants continue to launch deadly attacks on security forces that have killed hundreds.

In the capital, Sanaa, security officials said two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed two intelligence officers early Sunday as they were leaving a downtown security facility. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations, said all intelligence and security officers have been instructed to take precautionary measures outside working hours.

The government blames al-Qaida for the killing of several senior military and intelligence officials this year mainly by gunmen on motorbikes.

The officials said security authorities in Sanaa have launched a campaign against motorcyclists suspected of involvement in these attacks or other crimes, arresting about 200 for questioning for violations, including driving motorcycles without license plates.

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Senate Leaders Stand Ground Against a Rice Appointment

Thankfully, Senators McCain, Ayotte, and Graham are not backing down from their criticism of, and concerns about, the prospect of Ambassador Rice becoming Secretary Rice.  The administration has failed to provide the country with anything resembling the truth, and she has done nothing but prevaricate on the Benghazi affair before national audiences.  Instead, the president has been defensive and combative.  -AA

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* Republican McCain says ‘troubled’ by answers

* Senators will not support her until questions resolved

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Tuesday failed to win over her harshest Republican critics in the U.S. Senate who are threatening to block her nomination if President Barack Obama chooses her for Secretary of State or another top post in his second-term Cabinet.

Rice met for about an hour behind closed doors at the U.S. Capitol with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte. They have openly criticized her for initial comments after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that suggested it was a spontaneous event arising from protests of an anti-Islam film rather than a premeditated attack.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi mission and a nearby CIA annex. Intelligence officials later said the attack was possibly tied to al Qaeda affiliates.

“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate,” McCain told reporters after the meeting.

“It is clear that the information that she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video,” he said.

“It was not, and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case, including statements by Libyans as well as other Americans who are fully aware that people don’t bring mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to spontaneous demonstrations,” McCain said.

Republicans have argued that the Obama administration tried to play down the terrorist angle in its initial comments to avoid undermining the president’s claims of success in fighting al Qaeda in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election.

Rice was accompanied by acting CIA Director Michael Morell and was not seen by reporters, but later issued a statement saying: “We explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”

“While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved,” she said. “We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process.”

Obama has defended Rice and said if senators have a problem with the administration’s handling of Benghazi they should “go after me” rather than try to “besmirch her reputation.”

Graham also criticized U.S. intelligence agencies that wrote the talking points on which Rice based her public comments.

“I’m very disappointed in our intelligence community. I think they failed in many ways. But with a little bit of inquiry and curiosity, I think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far afield,” he said. “And at the end of the day, we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

Rice’s controversial Benghazi statements were based on a set of unclassified talking points prepared by U.S. intelligence agencies for members of Congress.

The initial draft written by the CIA referred to “attacks” carried out by “extremists with ties to al Qaeda.” However by the time Rice received them, “attacks” had changed to “demonstrations” and “with ties to al Qaeda” had been deleted, multiple U.S. sources have said.

The White House has denied making those edits and members of Congress are trying to determine where the changes were made.

The senators who met with Rice remained unconvinced by her responses and said her visit left them with greater concerns than before the meeting.

“I wouldn’t vote for anybody being nominated out of the Benghazi debacle until I had answers about what happened that I don’t have today,” Graham said.

Asked whether he would block such a nomination, Graham said: “Oh, absolutely. I would place a hold on anybody that wanted to be promoted for any job that had a role in the Benghazi situation.”

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PETRAEUS KNEW FROM THE START IT WAS TERRORISM

via AFP-

WASHINGTON: The row over the assault on the US mission in Libya has narrowed to focus on how and why the CIA’s determination that it was a terror attack was left out of a public “talking points” memo.

Armed militants stormed the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11 in a coordinated assault at two different locations over several hours that left US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

President Barack Obama alluded to the attack being an “act of terror” almost immediately, but senior administration officials then started suggesting it resulted spontaneously from protests at an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube.

In hearings in Congress on Friday, former CIA chief David Petraeus, in his first public outing since his humbling resignation due to an extramarital affair with his biographer, said he knew from the start it was terrorism.

Rather than putting the matter to rest, his remarks — which sounded very different depending on whether you believed the Republican or Democratic interpretations after the closed-door hearings — just raised more questions.

Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, vowed on Sunday to investigate why Petraeus’ conclusion was not reflected in CIA “talking points” used by the administration to inform the public days later.

The stakes of the row are high as Obama mulls picking US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as his next secretary of state despite the fact that Republicans accuse her of misleading the public over Benghazi.

If he does and Republicans dig their heels in during the Senate confirmation process, a bitter partisan fight looms at the start of Obama’s second term just when he is looking to bridge the Washington divide on budget talks and possible immigration reforms.

Rice, seen as the up-and-coming star of US diplomacy prior to Benghazi, fell into the Republican crosshairs when she took to the Sunday morning talk shows five days after the attack at the behest of the White House.

She said initial intelligence indicated that the assault arose “spontaneously” out of “copycat” protests like the ones in Cairo, and that the attack did not appear to be pre-planned or premeditated.

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Grinnin’ Joe Biden adds more confusion to Libya story with debate claim on security

Vice President Biden’s claim at Thursday’s debate that the administration wasn’t told of requests for more diplomatic security in the run-up to the Libya terror attack added only more confusion to an already muddled narrative.

In addition to raising eyebrows over that comment, the vice president went a step further and threw the intelligence community under the bus — putting the blame squarely on their shoulders for the faulty narrative, pushed for more than a week by the administration, that the attack was a protest spun out of control.

The exchange on Libya, which opened the debate in Kentucky, was among the toughest in a persistently confrontational face-off. But Biden’s comment on security was drawing widespread condemnation from Republicans Friday, with Romney adviser Dan Senor saying Biden “continued the administration’s pattern of misleading” on Libya.

Biden referenced the security when pressed about earlier criticism from Republican running mate Paul Ryan about the protection of diplomatic posts in Libya.

“Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again,” Biden said.

However, State Department officials who testified Wednesday before a House committee acknowledged there were indeed earlier requests for more security staffing — though they also suggested more staffing would not have prevented the Sept. 11 tragedy in Benghazi.

Two former security officers who testified at that hearing, including former top security official Eric Nordstrom, expressed frustration at how their appeals for more resources were rebuffed.

“We were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, former head of a 16-member U.S. military team that helped protect the embassy in Tripoli.

During the debate, Ryan later challenged the vice president on his comment.

“There were requests for extra security; those requests were not honored,” he said, adding that there should be Marines in Benghazi.

Biden also stated definitively Thursday that it was the intelligence community that originally surmised the attack was just a protest spun out of control — rather than a coordinated terror strike.

“That was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. The intelligence community told us that. As they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment,” Biden said.

State Department officials who testified Wednesday suggested as well that when U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice claimed the Sunday after the attack that protests over an anti-Islam film were to blame, she was merely basing her comments on the intelligence at the time.

However, lawmakers by that point had been publicly challenging the notion that the protests were a factor. And sources have since confirmed that some in the intelligence community were pointing to terrorism within 24 hours of the attack.

Fox News

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DOJ Press Release on the Iranian Plot to Assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Two Men Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States

WASHINGTON – Two individuals have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States.

 

The charges were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder; FBI Director Robert S. Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

 

A criminal complaint filed today in the Southern District of New York charges Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s Qods Force, which is a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad.

 

Both defendants are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries.   Arbabsiar is further charged with an additional count of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

 

Shakuri remains at large. Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and will make his initial appearance today before in federal court in Manhattan.   He faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison if convicted of all the charges.

 

“ The criminal complaint unsealed today exposes a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on U.S. soil with explosives,” said Attorney General Holder. “Through the diligent and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we were able to disrupt this plot before anyone was harmed.  We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously and bring those who have violated any laws to justice.”

 

“The investigation leading to today’s charges illustrates both the challenges and complexities of the international threat environment, and our increased ability today to bring together the intelligence and law enforcement resources necessary to better identify and disrupt those threats, regardless of their origin,” said FBI Director Mueller.

“The disruption of this plot is a significant milestone that stems from months of hard work by our law enforcement and intelligence professionals,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.   “I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s case.”

“As alleged, these defendants were part of a well-funded and pernicious plot that had, as its first priority, the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, without care or concern for the mass casualties that would result from their planned attack,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.   “Today’s charges should make crystal clear that we will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground.”

The Alleged Plot

 

The criminal complaint alleges that, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Qods Force, have been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.   In furtherance of this conspiracy, Arbabsiar allegedly met on a number of occasions in Mexico with a DEA confidential source (CS-1) who has posed as an associate of a violent international drug trafficking cartel.   According to the complaint, Arbabsiar arranged to hire CS-1 and CS-1’s purported accomplices to murder the Ambassador, and Shakuri and other Iran-based co-conspirators were aware of and approved the plan.   With Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar has allegedly caused approximately $100,000 to be wired into a bank account in the United States as a down payment to CS-1 for the anticipated killing of the Ambassador, which was to take place in the United States.

 

According to the criminal complaint, the IRCG is an arm of the Iranian military that is composed of a number of branches, one of which is the Qods Force.  The Qods Force conducts sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq.   In October 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Qods Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

 

The complaint alleges that Arbabsiar met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, where Arbabsiar inquired as to CS-1’s knowledge with respect to explosives and explained that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.   In response, CS-1 allegedly indicated that he was knowledgeable with respect to C-4 explosives.   In June and July 2011, the complaint alleges, Arbabsiar returned to Mexico and held additional meetings with CS-1, where Arbabsiar explained that his associates in Iran had discussed a number of violent missions for CS-1 and his associates to perform, including the murder of the Ambassador.

 

$1.5 Million Fee for Alleged Assassination

 

In a July 14, 2011, meeting in Mexico, CS-1 allegedly told Arbabsiar that he would need to use four men to carry out the Ambassador’s murder and that his price for carrying out the murder was $1.5 million. Arbabsiar allegedly agreed and stated that the murder of the Ambassador should be handled first, before the execution of other attacks.   Arbabsiar also allegedly indicated he and his associates had $100,000 in Iran to pay CS-1 as a first payment toward the assassination and discussed the manner in which that payment would be made.

 

During the same meeting, Arbabsiar allegedly described to CS-1 his cousin in Iran, who he said had requested that Arbabsiar find someone to carry out the Ambassador’s assassination.   According to the complaint, Arbabsiar indicated that his cousin was a “big general” in the Iranian military; that he focuses on matters outside Iran and that he had taken certain unspecified actions related to a bombing in Iraq.

 

In a July 17, 2011, meeting in Mexico, CS-1 noted to Arbabsiar that one of his workers had already traveled to Washington, D.C., to surveill the Ambassador.   CS-1 also raised the possibility of innocent bystander casualties. The complaint alleges that Arbabsiar made it clear that the assassination needed to go forward, despite mass casualties, telling CS-1, “They want that guy [the Ambassador] done [killed], if the hundred go with him f**k ‘em.”  CS-1 and Arbabsiar allegedly discussed bombing a restaurant in the United States that the Ambassador frequented.   When CS-1 noted that others could be killed in the attack, including U.S. senators who dine at the restaurant, Arbabsiar allegedly dismissed these concerns as “no big deal.”

 

On Aug. 1, and Aug. 9, 2011, with Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar allegedly caused two overseas wire transfers totaling approximately $100,000 to be sent to an FBI undercover account as a down payment for CS-1 to carry out the assassination.   Later, Arbabsiar allegedly explained to CS-1 that he would provide the remainder of the $1.5 million after the assassination. On Sept. 20, 2011, CS-1 allegedly told Arbabsiar that the operation was ready and requested that Arbabsiar either pay one half of the agreed upon price ($1.5 million) for the murder or that Arbabsiar personally travel to Mexico as collateral for the final payment of the fee.   According to the complaint, Arbabsiar agreed to travel to Mexico to guarantee final payment for the murder.

 

Arrest and Alleged Confession

 

On or about Sept. 28, 2011, Arbabsiar flew to Mexico.   Arbabsiar was refused entry into Mexico by Mexican authorities and, according to Mexican law and international agreements; he was placed on a return flight destined for his last point of departure.    On Sept. 29, 2011, Arbabsiar was arrested by federal agents during a flight layover at JFK International Airport in New York.   Several hours after his arrest, Arbabsiar was advised of his Miranda rights and he agreed to waive those rights and speak with law enforcement agents.   During a series of Mirandized interviews, Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the murder plot.

According to the complaint, Arbabsiar also admitted to agents that, in connection with this plot, he was recruited, funded and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in Iran’s Qods Force.   He allegedly said these Iranian officials were aware of and approved of the use of CS-1 in connection with the plot; as well as payments to CS-1; the means by which the Ambassador would be killed in the United States and the casualties that would likely result.

 

Arbabsiar allegedly told agents that his cousin, who he had long understood to be a senior member of the Qods Force, had approached him in the early spring of 2011 about recruiting narco-traffickers to kidnap the Ambassador.   Arbabsiar told agents that he then met with the CS-1 in Mexico and discussed assassinating the Ambassador.   According to the complaint, Arbabsiar said that, afterwards, he met several times in Iran with Shakuri and another senior Qods Force official, where he explained that the plan was to blow up a restaurant in the United States frequented by the Ambassador and that numerous bystanders could be killed, according to the complaint.   The plan was allegedly approved by these officials.

 

In October 2011, according to the complaint, Arbabsiar made phone calls at the direction of law enforcement to Shakuri in Iran that were monitored.  During these phone calls, Shakuri allegedly confirmed that Arbabsiar should move forward with the plot to murder the Ambassador and that he should accomplish the task as quickly as possible, stating on Oct. 5, 2011, “[j]ust do it quickly, it’s late . . .”  The complaint alleges that Shakuri also told Arbabsiar that he would consult with his superiors about whether they would be willing to pay CS-1 additional money.

 

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI Houston Division and DEA Houston Division, with assistance from the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force.   The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Glen Kopp and Edward Kim, of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. State Department provided substantial assistance.  We thank the government of Mexico for its close coordination and collaboration in this matter, and for its role in ensuring that the defendant was safely apprehended.

 

The charges contained in a criminal complaint are mere allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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LATEST NEWS ON ASSASSINATION PLOT AGAINST SAUDI AMBASSADOR IN US

CNN

[Posted at 2:22 p.m. ET] The criminal complaint filed Tuesday in the Southern District of New York names Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s Qods Force, which is a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad, according to the Justice Department.

The men are charged with the following crimes: conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries.   Arbabsiar is further charged with an additional count of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

[Posted at 2:19 p.m. ET] FBI Director Robert Mueller said the alleged terror plot involving Iran “reads like the pages of a Hollywood script.”

“This case illustrates that we live in a world where borders and boundaries are increasingly irrelevant,” Mueller said.

[Posted at 2:14 p.m. ET] An alleged plot – involving Iran – to commit terrorism inside the United States “is a fabrication,” Ali Akbar Javanfekr, spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Tuesday.

Javanfekr said the Iranian government is awaiting details, but suggested U.S. authorities are attempting to distract American citizens from “domestic problems” by convincing them there is an outside threat.

[Posted at 2:12 p.m. ET] An FBI agent’s affidavit obtained by CNN Tuesday accused two men of conspiring to murder Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir.

The complaint alleges that Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri began a plot this past spring to kill Al-Jubeir.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a news conference that the terror plot was a $1.5 million dollar “murder for hire” plan.

Officials also said one of the suspects told an informant that killing civilians, including senators, during the attack was “no problem” and “no big deal.”

[Posted at 2:00 p.m. ET] The FBI and the DEA have disrupted a plot involving Iran to commit terrorism inside the United States, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

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