In August 2022, the Justice Department announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had thwarted an Iranian plot to assassinate former National Security Adviser John Bolton in retaliation for the US government’s actions against Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Subsequently, on November 12th 2023, 60 Minutes reported that the “hitman” hired to execute this plan was an FBI informant. This was presented as a factual occurrence with no indication of any moral implications.
“Lucky for Bolton, the assassin was an FBI informant,” 60 Minutes reported, portraying the assassination plot as a credible threat.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) charging papers revealed that the alleged plot to assassinate John Bolton was largely fabricated, and Bolton himself was never in any danger. According to the DOJ, the man responsible for this attempted hiring of an FBI informant was a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF).
However, investigators could not confirm this claim as no additional evidence has been provided.
Steven D’Antuono, a senior FBI official previously in charge of the Detroit field office during a case involving Governor Gretchen Whitmer and later at the Washington DC field office during the January 6 “storm at the Capitol”, headed up this investigation.
The person charged for attempting to hire an assassin is Shahram Poursafi, an Iranian national. As Poursafi remains unarrested due to speculation he resides in Iran, further research may be needed in order to apprehend him.
In Randi Beck’s affidavit it states that there is suspicion that Poursafi is part of IRGC-QF because he did not deny such a connection and one photo depicted him wearing a jacket with an IRGC-QF patch.
Aside from this single image however there has been no other indication that he belongs to said organization.
“The [informant] asked POURSAFI to be direct about his request so there was no misunderstanding as to what POURSAFI had requested. POURSAFI responded that he wanted ‘the guy’ purged or eliminated. POURSAFI then clarified that [Bolton] was the target,” Beck’s affidavit noted.
In December 2021, Beck affirmed in his affidavit that the FBI informant took pictures of Bolton with Bolton’s full knowledge and consent, which were then sent to Poursafi.
Over the subsequent months, Poursafi and the informant discussed remuneration; initially, Poursafi indicated he would pay prior to the job being completed, however he later changed his mind and requested Bolton be killed first.
By April 2022, it appears that Poursafi had grown weary of the informant.
“POURSAFI informed the CHS that if the CHS did not complete the second assassination, his group had others prepared to finish the operation,” Beck’s affidavit noted.
The FBI informant requested a $100 payment as evidence that the Iranian national could send him money.
Subsequently, records indicated that Poursafi provided the payment and the FBI concluded its investigation.
Afterward, D’Antuono boasted about successfully preventing the Bolton assassination plot.
“An attempted assassination of a former U.S. Government official on U.S. soil is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” stated D’Antuono, who has since retired.
“The FBI will continue to identify and disrupt any efforts by Iran or any hostile government seeking to bring harm or death to U.S. persons at home or abroad. This should serve as a warning to any others attempting to do the same.”
To this day, Bolton still receives Secret Service protection due to the plot against him, as he stated on 60 Minutes.