In September 2023, Pentagon Chief of Staff Ariane Tabatabai, an Iranian immigrant, was accused of having worked as an agent of the Tehran regime. Dissident media outlets produced emails that allegedly showed that Tabatabai had joined an initiative by the Iranian Foreign Ministry to coordinate operations and that she had even run her congressional testimony on Iran’s nuclear program past the head of an Iranian Foreign Ministry think tank.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center and Front Page Magazine had been among those to take the lead in warning about the potential danger posed by her and enemy agents in the Pentagon.
Tabatabai had served under Robert Malley, Biden’s Iran Envoy, who had been suspended from the Obama campaign for his backchannel contacts with Hamas, and has been under investigation for mishandling classified documents. But the emails appeared to show that she had personally worked for Iran and its influence operations aimed at the U.S. government.
Despite that she continued to be promoted until she is now the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC).
In January 2024, Iranian-backed terrorists launched their most successful single attack against an American base to date. The target was the living quarters where U.S military personnel were stationed on an obscure support base in the Jordanian desert known as Tower 22.
While the drone attack would normally have been intercepted, the Iranian-backed terrorists had precisely timed the arrival of their drone to match that of an American drone returning home.
In the confusion, the Islamic terrorist drone was not intercepted and 3 American military personnel were killed and over 30 more were wounded. And it could have been worse.
The Iranians had known where the living quarters on the base were, what our procedures for drone arrivals and departures were, and when one of our drones would be coming back.
How were the Islamic terrorists able to precisely coordinate the arrival of their drone and ours?
Tower 22, located close to Syria and Iraq, was one of the bases that we helped Jordan build up during the Syrian Civil War. Under Obama, it was a key element for supporting the Syrian Sunni rebels while under Trump, it focused on fighting ISIS forces in Syria. Syrian Sunnis fleeing the country passed by, some were allowed to enter Jordan, while most, including some Sunni Jihadis, had to remain in what became known as the Rukban refugee camp.
The proximity of the Rukban camp to Tower 22 and the nearby Al-Tanf base would provide plenty of options for “refugees” to monitor and track the movements of American drones.
But Ariane Tabatabai’s presence in Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict raises another troubling possibility. Tower 22 was used as a jumping off point by special operators and the U.S. presence in that area falls under the shadow of the SO/LIC office.
Special operators had been stationed at Al-Tanf and the SO/LIC office would have potentially had access to a great deal of information about what was going on at Al-Tanf and Tower 22.
That indeed is why Tabatabai likely ended up in the office, not despite her ties to the Iranian regime, but because of them. During the campaign against ISIS, the United States came to rely on some of the same Iranian-backed Shiite Jihadist groups to do the heavy lifting on the ground.
Tabatabai could have been seen as a potentially useful backchannel for an office that was likely unofficially coordinating with Iran anyway. That would explain her initial role as a senior advisor.
But by elevating a former Iranian agent to a chief of staff of an office overseeing special operations, the Biden administration, the Pentagon and the SO/LIC may have been gambling that they could control that backchannel and that would have been a catastrophic mistake.
Late last year, 30 Senate members had urged the Pentagon to suspend her security clearance.
“Iran continues to threaten U.S. military personnel in the Middle East and remains intent on assassinating American citizens here in the United States. Given these facts, we find it simply unconscionable that a senior Department official would continue to hold a sensitive position despite her alleged participation in an Iranian government information operation,” they warned.
“Dr. Tabatabai was thoroughly and properly vetted as a condition of her employment with the Department of Defense,” a Pentagon spokesman claimed. “We are honored to have her serve.”
And the cost of that DOD decision may have been quite high, not just in security, but blood.
We don’t know how exactly Iran’s terror groups were able to closely coordinate the arrival of their drone with ours, but it’s hard to believe that it could have happened without either sloppiness, close observation or inside information. Operational security had clearly been compromised and in such a situation it’s the fundamental duty of the Department of Defense to examine its procedures, tighten its security and look into Iranian agents inside its offices.
There should be no place for current or former agents of an enemy government which is actively attacking and killing Americans inside the Pentagon. And yet Tabatabai is still there.
And she’s not alone.
Nor is she even the only Pentagon Chief of Staff with Islamic terror ties. Front Page Magazine’s ‘Disloyal Military’ investigations into enemy agents and wokeness within the military not only cast light on Ariane Tabatabai, but also on Yousra Fazili, the Chief of Staff for the Pentagon Comptroller, as well as other hostile figures in the government and the defense industry.
Yousra Fazili, the daughter of Kashmiri Muslim immigrants who studied Islamic religious law or sharia at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, a hub of Jihadist thinking, had testified in Congress in support of her cousin who had been arrested for his support for Islamic terrorists in India.
Fazili had worked for the Qatari ambassador, an ally of Iran, and which serves as a state sponsor of Hamas, and she had represented the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations known as a Muslim Brotherhood operation, co-founded by figures tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Osama bin Laden, and she has cheered on pro-Hamas protesters.
Despite multiple congressional letters and warnings from Senate and House members, the Department of Defense has done nothing to clean its house and the clock is ticking.
We do not know if inside information led to the deaths of 3 Americans in the Iranian attack at Tower 22, but it is only a matter of time until foreign enemy agents inside the government end up passing information to Iran, Qatar or other Islamic terror states that gets our people killed.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center will continue investigating the enemy within and working to hold them and their enablers in the government accountable before it’s too late.