Report says US had evidence Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah carried out 1996 bombing, which killed 19 US servicemen
Former US president Bill Clinton’s administration had enough evidence of Iran’s sponsorship of a deadly terror attack in Saudi Arabia to prompt a communique to the Iranian president, but kept the information under wraps to avoid demands for a more forceful response, the Washington Times reported on Tuesday.
Memos from the period before Clinton left office reveal that intelligence had indicated Iranian involvement in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, which killed 19 US servicemen.
As a result, in 1999, the administration sent a secret cable to then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami pointing out that the US knew who was behind the attack.
A declassified copy of the cable from the National Security Archives group shows the US listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia as the culprits.
“Message to President Khatami from President Clinton: The United States Government has received credible evidence that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (IRGC) along with members of Lebanese and Saudi Hizballah [sic] were directly involved in the planning and execution of the terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia of the Khobar Towers military resident complex,” the cable read.
“The United States views this in the gravest terms,” the message noted. “We acknowledge that the bombing occurred prior to your election. Those responsible, however, have yet to face justice for this crime. And the IRGC may be involved in planning for further terrorist attacks against American citizens. The involvement of the IRGC in terrorist activity and planning aboard remains a cause of deep concern to us.”
Not only was the information kept from the public; it was also suppressed within the US intelligence community, the report said.
Full article: Bill Clinton knew Iran was behind Khobar attack, cable shows (The Times of Israel)