An annual security assessment presented to the U.S. Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, has excluded Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from its list of terror threats to U.S. interests, despite both being consistently included as threats in previous years.
The unclassified report, issued by Clapper on February 26 and entitled the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities, was published by the Times of Israel amid Israeli concerns that Iran was omitted simply because of Tehran’s efforts to combat ISIS.
In a previous report from January 2014, Clapper included Iran and Hezbollah in the ‘Terrorism’ section, writing that both “continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s”. Iran was also given its own sub-heading in the ‘Terrorism’ section of such assessments in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Yet in the latest report, Clapper omits both Iran and Hezbollah from this section, only mentioning the Shiite Muslim militant group once in reference to the threat it faces from radical Sunni groups – such as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front – on Lebanon’s borders. In regard to Iran, the report names it as both a cyber and regional threat to the U.S. because of its support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
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