Alleged Iran/Mexico narco-mullah assassination plot is a head-scratcher

From the FBI website, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, center, joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco at a press conference about an alleged Iranian assassination plot Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Sebastian Rotella at Pro Publica:

The alleged Iranian plot to use Mexican cartel gunmen to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington is one of the strangest, most serious terrorism cases to surface in years, a mix of seemingly credible evidence and unlikely scenarios that departs dramatically from Iran’s past record of global terrorist activity.

Gary Sick of Columbia's School of International Affairs has a similar take on his blog.

Iran has never conducted — or apparently even attempted — an assassination or a bombing inside the US. And it is difficult to believe that they would rely on a non-Islamic criminal gang to carry out this most sensitive of all possible missions. In this instance, they allegedly relied on at least one amateur and a Mexican criminal drug gang that is known to be riddled with both Mexican and US intelligence agents.

Whatever else may be Iran’s failings, they are not noted for utter disregard of the most basic intelligence tradecraft, e.g. discussing an ultra-covert operation on an open international line between Iran and the US. Yet that is what happened here.

Perhaps this operation is just as it appears. But at a minimum both the public and the Congress should demand more detailed evidence before taking any rash or irreversible action.

The conspiracy theorist response would be that all of this is a fabricated diversion from "Fast and Furious." But even if the allegations are real, the timing sure doesn't pass my sniff test. Just hours before subpoenas issued to Holder et al over the "gun-walking" scandal?

Update: Bob Mackey's New York Times piece describes it as reminiscent of a Tarantino script. And the story keeps getting weirder.

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