Headlines such as “U.S.Sees Iran Attacks as Likely if Israel Strikes,” are a sobering reminder that jumping into a war with Iran could have even more dangerous consequences for us than invading Iraq.
My first job after graduate school was with a shadowy company in Washington DC that ostensibly had a “Crisis Management Training” contract with the US State Department. I was hired, received my Top Secret clearance after a background check by DISCO, and sent out into “the field” with teams composed of other rather naïve young graduates and very tough gentlemen belonging to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) – the black ops force that later took down Bin Laden. Our mission was to prepare threat analyses for US embassies and facilities, and conduct training courses for “crises” such as terrorist attacks. As we traveled under diplomatic cover, the JSOC boys sometimes used our missions to infiltrate foreign countries and carry out special operations.
As I read about the escalating confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program, I remembered the threats that are kept hidden from the American people. Iran has vowed to retaliate against the US and other Western countries if Israel attacks its nuclear facilities. US intelligence agencies have long been aware of the existence of up to a dozen Iranian terrorist “sleeper cells” within the United States. Recently the Iranian government has warned – through various channels – that these cells could be activated.
The FBI takes these threats seriously – the problem is that the Bureau has no idea who the sleepers are. They have been profiled as likely to be former Iranian students at US colleges who returned to Iran after the 1979 Revolution and subsequently sought asylum in America. Today, these persons may be living under deep cover posing as upstanding members of the Iranian-American community – doctors, lawyers, businessmen, even politicians.
The Iranian “secret weapon” is a genuine threat, but it may never be activated if the US, Israel and other allies can find a peaceful solution to legitimate concerns over Iran’s nuclear program – especially when there is no evidence that Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons. We should never forget the spurious “Weapons of Mass Destruction” pretense that launched the invasion of Iraq.