Director of National Intelligence: Iran's 'Foreign Actors' Stoking Trouble in America

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

It's going to happen here.

A statement from the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, released on Tuesday, gave some chilling warnings regarding Iran's involvement in stoking dissent, hate, and, yes, terror around the world.


The Intelligence Community recognizes the importance of informing the public of foreign efforts to influence our democratic processes and, consequently, leading into the Presidential and congressional elections this year, we are launching today the first of what will be regular updates regarding such threats.

The election this year is certain to be contentious. Whoever wins, the other side won't accept it. There are liable to be protests, and if Donald Trump wins — the smart money says he will — those protests are bound to include looting and arson because the left, unlike the right, always seems to devolve to these tactics to express dissent, which is patriotic until the right does it.

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And Iran may be putting resources into stoking that leftist dissent.

As I noted in testimony to the Congress in May, Iran is becoming increasingly aggressive in their foreign influence efforts, seeking to stoke discord and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions, as we have seen them do in the past, including in prior election cycles. They continue to adapt their cyber and influence activities, using social media platforms and issuing threats. It is likely they will continue to rely on their intelligence services in these efforts, as well as Iran-based online influencers, to promote their narratives.


Sure, Iranian agents will certainly be on social media, pushing, prodding, inciting — it's what they do, and the weakness of the Biden administration has only encouraged their efforts.

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But there's a greater problem, one that we can hope the DNI is aware of. (Under this administration, it's far from certain.) That issue is, of course, the southern border and the millions of unknown, unscreened, unvetted people who have crossed into the United States illegally and are now roaming the country — somewhere. Nobody knows where they are or what they are planning to do. But they are here. And they are not here to help us "grow our economy." 

The fact that Iran may have agents in place should be horrifying to any Americans who give it a moment's thought. The 2020 riots were bad enough, and those were largely unplanned and spontaneous. Now imagine a hostile nation-state supporting this kind of large-scale rioting and providing the rioters with weapons and some elementary training. Imagine them helping a few thousand anti-Trump rioters with some actual plans, targeting infrastructure, targeting public events, targeting people in their homes.


In other words, imagine an October 7th-style event here, multiplied by a factor of ten — at least.

Iran would love to pull something like that off. We shouldn't mistake their incompetence at something like keeping a small naval vessel afloat with a lack of competence at stirring up trouble around the world; they have shown themselves to be quite good at that. The Director of National Intelligence had damn well better be aware of this. They damn well better be planning how to counter it — and how to prevent it. But given the history of the Biden administration, that's anything but certain.



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