With US-Iran tensions high and Iran hawks looking for a possible pretext for war, a strange report surfaced in the media on Tuesday that claimed a threat was broadcast and heard by air traffic controllers in New York on Monday.
“We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged,” audio obtained by CBS News said, referring to Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike last January.
Multiple sources told CNN that the threat did not appear credible. A Trump administration official told CNN that the threat was an isolated incident that did not match any intelligence and said it “had no correlation to anything the US is currently tracking on Iran.”
CNN asked aides to top congressional Democrats about the threat, who said the CBS report was the first they heard about it. The incident is reportedly being investigated by the FBI.
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the US assassination of Soleimani. Leading up to the day, US officials were hyping the threat of Iranian attacks, but the day passed with no violence. Despite the constant warning from the US, Iran has no interest in provoking a military conflict with the US during President Trump’s last days in office.
The Trump administration has been stoking tensions with Iran in recent weeks by flying B-52 bombers to the region, announcing the passage of a nuclear-powered submarine through the Strait of Hormuz, and reversing a decision to bring an aircraft carrier home from the Middle East.
On Wednesday, the day the recording said a plane would hit the Capitol, President Trump is expected to hold a rally in Washington that coincides with a congressional vote to certify Electoral College results.