After an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in an apparent ambush near Tehran on Friday, former CIA Director John Brennan said that it was a "criminal act & highly reckless." He said it "risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict." Brennan said that Iranian leaders should wait until Biden is in office, and not engage with the Trump administration:
"Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits."
The death of the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was alleged by Iran's foreign minister to bear "serious indications" of Israeli interference. Fakhrizadeh was named as the "leader of the Islamic Republic’s disbanded military nuclear program," according to the AP.
Brennan went on to say that he didn't know "whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh," but that if so, it would be "state sponsored terrorism," and a "flagrant violation of international law." For Brennan, this would "encourage more governments" to behave in a similar fashion.
He said that the killing of Fakhrizadeh was different than other "strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives," in that terrorist groups, unlike Iran, are not sovereign nations.
The reaction from conservative Twitter was swift and fierce. OANN's Jack Posobiec pointed out that Brennan's actions during his time in the CIA negated his current outrage.
Newsmax's Benny Johnson said that Fakhrizadeh was a terrorist, and that it was unreasonable for Brennan to be "this angry" about his death.
Commentators Mike Cernovich and David Reaboi had similar takes, saying that Brennan was responsible for civilian deaths, and that his worry over Fakhrizadeh was misplaced given his own actions.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, founder and formerly of The Intercept, agreed with Brennan, but still took issue with his outrage, saying the recently pardoned General Flynn had given a similar message to Russia during the last presidential transition, in 2016. Greenwald suggested that perhaps Brennan should be tried under the Logan Act.
The Logan Act "is a 1799 law that calls for the fine or imprisonment of private citizens who attempt to intervene without authorization in disputes or controversies between the United States and foreign governments." Brennan's selective outrage unwittingly shows how General Flynn was railroaded, since Brennan himself could now be investigated for "Logan Act violations."
Dov Hikind, former State Assemblyman in New York, questioned if killing of Fakhrizadeh was "as reckless as allowing Iran to obtain" nuclear weapons, and helping foot the bill.