Ex-CIA chief slams Sen. Cruz for ‘lawless attitude’ over Iranian scientist assassination

November 28, 2020 - 23:41

TEHRAN – Former CIA director John Brennan has slammed U.S. Senator Ted Cruz for his “lawless attitude” over the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

In a tweet on Friday, following the targeted killing of the Iranian scientist, Brennan tweeted that “this was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.”

“Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits,” he added.

Fakhrizadeh, 59, was killed on Friday in a terrorist attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province. Tehran has said Israel and global arrogance are behind the assassination.

“I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh,” Brennan said. “Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.”

He added: “These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaida & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states. As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks.

Cruz, an Iran hawk in the U.S. Senate, said via Twitter that “it’s bizarre to see a former head of the CIA consistently side with Iranian zealots who chant ‘Death to America.’ And reflexively condemn Israel.”

In response, Brennan told Cruz that “It is typical for you to mischaracterize my comment.”

“Your lawless attitude & simple-minded approach to serious national security matters demonstrate that you are unworthy to represent the good people of Texas,” the former CIA chief added.

Omri Ceren, a security advisor to Senator Cruz, also criticized Brennan, tweeting that “some enterprising journalist should ask John Brennan if this tweet constitutes a Logan Act violation by John Brennan according to the standards articulated over the last four years by John Brennan.”

Cruz retweeted Ceren’s remarks, which drew another response from Brennan, who said the Texas senator “is now misrepresenting the Logan Act. Apparently, he is a poor Senator & a bad lawyer. A private citizen publicly criticizing what could be a state-sponsored assassination of a government official & cautioning against retaliatory killing is called freedom of speech.”

“In contrast, an individual tapped to be National Security Advisor (but not yet one) in an incoming Administration who privately contacts a foreign government official & advises how to conduct relations with the U.S. could be in violation of the Logan Act,” he said, referring to the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was recently pardoned by U.S. President Donald Trump.

MH/PA

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