Authorities investigating after threat to attack Capitol: report

Authorities investigating after threat to attack Capitol: report
© Getty Images

Federal officials are reportedly investigating after a threat was sent to air traffic controllers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in retaliation for the 2020 assassination of a top Iranian general.

The audio, reportedly sent to air traffic controllers in New York and obtained by CBS News, says "We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. [Gen. Qassem] Soleimani will be avenged.”

Officials do not believe the threat to be credible but are investigating the frequency breach, according to CBS. The Defense Department and intelligence agencies have been briefed on the matter. Sources told the network that regardless of whether the threat itself is plausible, the intrusion itself is considered far more worrisome for its potential to interfere with communications between the controllers and pilots.


The message was received on Jan. 3, the first anniversary of the U.S.’s killing of Soleimani at a Baghdad airport. The possibility of retaliation from Iran to mark the anniversary has been a major concern for the U.S. In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Iran launched an attack on a Baghdad airbase housing U.S. troops, killing none but injuring several.

This week, Iran called on the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to issue a “red notice” for Trump’s arrest in connection with Soleimani’s killing. The international agency’s general secretariat told NPR it is “strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character” and that it will not act on Iran’s request.

Tensions are also expected to be high in Washington on Wednesday as a joint session of Congress formally votes to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE’s Electoral College win. Numerous far-right groups have traveled to the city in an attempt to pressure lawmakers to vote to overturn the results of the election.

"The Federal Aviation Administration works closely with federal law enforcement and national security partners on any reported security threats that may impact aviation safety," an FAA spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.

A spokesperson for the FBI's New York field office declined to comment but told The Hill that the bureau "takes all threats of violence to public safety seriously."