Former Trump Advisors Under Secret Service Watch Amid Iranian Threats

Trump
© REUTERS / RACHEL MUMMEY

A CBS News report on February 27, 2024, revealed that former national security advisers John Bolton and Robert O’Brien, who served in the Trump administration, have been under surveillance by the U.S. Secret Service due to perceived threats from Iran. This protection has cost taxpayers a substantial $12,280,324 for nearly a year.

Information obtained by “60 Minutes” through a Freedom of Information Act request, from Department of Homeland Security reports submitted to Congress, confirms the need for heightened security measures for Bolton and O’Brien, although Iran is not explicitly named.

The protection provided involves continuous monitoring by dedicated special agents covering their residences, workplaces, and travel, both domestically and internationally, showcasing the seriousness of the perceived threats. Bolton initially had no security detail after leaving the White House, but it was initiated in December 2021 due to concerns about Iranian threats.

Former President Trump directed the Secret Service to safeguard O’Brien upon his departure, with costs amounting to $1,928,922 until September 2021. President Biden subsequently extended their protection. Iran’s targeting of former Trump administration members, including threats of abduction and assassination, is believed to be retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

This has prompted increased vigilance from intelligence and law enforcement agencies globally. The expenses incurred for protection include payroll bills totaling $10,713,676 over ten months for Bolton and a year for O’Brien. Additionally, non-payroll costs such as foreign travel and vehicle rentals amounted to $1,566,648. However, these reports cover only a fraction of the time these officials received protection, suggesting the actual expenditure could be higher.

Bolton himself has acknowledged the ongoing threat, citing marked Secret Service vehicles outside his residence. Law enforcement has also extended protection to Iranian dissidents and journalists in the U.S. due to credible threats from Iran. Similar security measures have been adopted by countries like the U.K., which established a specialized unit to counter foreign plots from nations like Iran, China, and Russia.

In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Bolton revealed the gravity of the threats he faced, including details of an Iranian national allegedly attempting to orchestrate his assassination, underscoring the severity of the situation.

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