Suspect in Saudi ambassador assassination plot pleads guilty
An Iranian-American man from Texas on Wednesday pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to participating in a plot meant to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
Prosecutors said Manssor Arbabsiar, 57, tried to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington restaurant where Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined. But the scheme unraveled when Arbabsiar's cartel contact turned out to be an undercover agent.
Arbabsiar acknowledged in court to conspiring with members of the Iranian military in the formulation of the plot and is expected to be sentenced in January.
Federal officials say Arbabsiar met "on a number of occasions in Mexico with a Drug Enforcement Administration confidential source."
This is typical of the targets of many sting operations we've seen in recent years in terrorism cases who lack the resources to try to carry out their delusions were it not for the essential role played by government informants and agents.
The man's guilty plea does not establish this was an on-the-books Iranian assassination operation, or even anything remotely close.
The defendant, a former used car salesman with a history of psychiatric problems, was in no position to carry out the plot and the "Mexican drug figure" he communicated with was actually an FBI informant. This case did not pan out to be what was originally claimed.