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Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today led a group of seven Republican senators in a letter to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr. expressing concern that the 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment did not fully represent Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism globally, and the threat posed by Iranian support for terrorist proxies and violent Shia militants throughout the Middle East.

The senators, all members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, requested that Clapper provide an unclassified assessment of Iran’s support for terrorism and the threat posed by Shia militants. They also asked whether this information was in previous drafts of the assessment, any justifications for removing the information and who made the decision to do so.

In addition to Rubio, the letter was signed by Senators Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Susan Collins (R-ME), James Risch (R-ID), James Lankford (R-OK), and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

“As you know, Iran has a long history of supporting terrorist activity in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America – and the Department of State has listed Iran as an official state sponsor of terror since 1984,” the senators wrote. “However, in your 2015 worldwide threat assessment, there is little mention of Iranian support for terrorism or the threat posed by Shia militants.”

“Therefore, we ask that you provide an unclassified assessment – with a classified annex if necessary – of Iran’s support for terrorism and the threat posed by Shia militants,” the senators added. “We also request that you inform us whether previous drafts of the unclassified assessment contained information regarding Iran’s support for terrorism; the justification for removing those references; and who made the decision to remove them.”

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:

April 28, 2015

The Honorable James R. Clapper, Jr.

Director of National Intelligence

Washington, DC 20511

Dear Director Clapper:

We are writing to express our concern that your 2015 worldwide threat assessment did not fully represent the threat posed by Iranian support for terrorist proxies and violent Shia militants throughout the Middle East.  Iran continues to advance its subversive behavior through violent extremist groups like Lebanese Hezbollah, Shia militias, the Houthi rebels, and Palestinian extremists, among others.  The Iranian regime leverages these relationships to export its so-called Islamic revolution, destabilize the regional order, and counter American interests in places like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel.

Despite ongoing nuclear negotiations and the administration’s evolving policy towards the Iranian regime, we are perplexed that your annual assessment contains no meaningful reference to the chaos that Iran manufactures through its support for terrorist groups and proxy organizations, which raises serious questions about the credibility of this annual exercise.  As you know, Iran has a long history of supporting terrorist activity in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America – and the Department of State has listed Iran as an official state sponsor of terror since 1984.  However, in your 2015 worldwide threat assessment, there is little mention of Iranian support for terrorism or the threat posed by Shia militants.  In fact, a fair reading of the assessment leaves one with the impression that only Sunni violent extremists pose a threat to our national interests.

Therefore, we ask that you provide an unclassified assessment – with a classified annex if necessary – of Iran’s support for terrorism and the threat posed by Shia militants.  At a minimum, this assessment should include Iran’s support for recognized terrorist organizations and proxy groups and any relevant trends and patterns in Iran’s subversive behavior.  We also request that you inform us whether previous drafts of the unclassified assessment contained information regarding Iran’s support for terrorism; the justification for removing those references; and who made the decision to remove them.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Marco Rubio

Dan Coats

Tom Cotton

Susan Collins

James Risch

James Lankford

Roy Blunt