Pro Publica takes a closer look at the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador on US soil and offers up a big, hmmmmm. It just seems ... off. The normally careful Revolutionary Guard teaming with Mexican drug gangsters? To stage a brazen attack in Washington that would likely unleash a furious retaliation against both camps? All tied together by an "apparently inexperienced operative" who appears to have nowhere near the chops needed to bring together such a scheme? Some of the evidence, including $100,000 in wire payments tracked from Iran, looks strong. But in general, the plot doesn't seem to mesh with the past behavior of either Iran or the Zetas drug cartel.
Starting with a target in downtown DC. "It’s so clearly an act of war that it’s hard to imagine why the Iranians would sign on to that," says a former CIA counterterror chief. "And the tradecraft seems amateurish and sloppy. It’s crazy.” Another former CIA official floats a possible theory: Maybe suspect Manssor Arbabsiar was trying to "bilk" Iran's Revolutionary Guard and its affiliated Quds Force. “Maybe they got involved to the point of trying to figure out what he can deliver, and it turns out US law enforcement is all over him.” Full post is here. For another skeptical view, click here. (Read more Iran stories.)