President Shaw merely said the word, and heads started nodding. All but two.
Ailes was one of the nodders. “It makes sense, Mr. President” he said.
“With Iraq now stable, the mullahs have to be sweating out what would come next. And Governor Reynolds never minced words about his opinion of the regime in Iran.”
“Sorry, but no. Iran was almost certainly not behind this.”
Everyone turned back to the head of NSA.
“No comm chatter” he said, pointing a finger up. “No evidence of special training in the last three months, or –“ cutting off Ailes, who was about say something – “any support activity in Iran that matches the profile.
“No cash flow from Iran to D.C. in the past two weeks, and we know this team was here that long.”
Shaw looked at Ailes for confirmation, who nodded. “We think the hit team was in D.C. for the last part of the election, so they’d need a safe house somewhere close.”
“Also, the President of Iran has to know the payback on this. In fact, I would not be surprised to see a hit on the President of Iran in the next few days.”
Everyone in the room stopped.
“Explain” ordered Shaw.
“Mister President”, said NSA, “this was meant to destabilize the United States. They did not go after you, or all the candidates, just the one they were sure would win.
“But that by itself will not have the kind of effect needed to make a difference. But a lot of people will think of Iran as being behind this assassination, and some would expect you to go after Iran in retaliation. Killing their President would be easy to sell to the Middle East as an American action, and that would pay off in a lot of ways that the plotters could take advantage of.”
“Well, that’s a real problem, then” nodded Shaw. “So, what do we do? Send a message to Iran warning them to take care.”
“We can’t do that” warned SecState. “They’d just take that as a threat, and their President would not believe you, anyway.”
“OK” said Shaw. “Frank? I need a plan on what our options are, if someone whacks the President of Iran. Who benefits, who blames us and how we prove we’re clean.”
Chairman JSC nodded.