Behind Manssor Arbabsiar's Plot to Kill the Saudi U.S. Ambassador

The reports describe him as "narcissistic," "hypersexual," well-mannered and prone to "grandiose" statements. Arbabsiar refers to himself as a successful businessperson, better at deal-making than management. "I may be a little bit loco, but I am a good businessman," he said.

The accounts also pull back the curtain on what happened immediately following Arbabsiar's arrest, including his interrogation by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On Sept. 28, 2011, after several months of meetings in Mexico and Iran, Arbabsiar flew to Mexico to serve as human collateral until half of the agreed payment from Iran was sent to the DEA informant posing as a drug cartel member.

Mexican authorities denied Arbabsiar entry into the country and the next day put him on a plane to New York. Undercover law-enforcement officials kept tabs on Arbabsiar while he was in the air.

During the five-hour flight Arbabsiar didn't eat, didn't watch the movie. He thought to himself, "I am finished." He thought about how his brother had told him not to go and wondered if his Mexican contact "Junior" had been in on it.

When he landed in New York, FBI agents escorted him to a hotel for questioning. According to prosecutors, Arbabsiar was read his Miranda rights and waived his right to appear before a judge.

For the next couple of days he was interrogated but gave up very few incriminating details. Then, when confronted with recorded telephone conversations between himself and the DEA informant in Mexico, Arbabsiar, the used-car salesman, did what he knew how to do best: He attempted to strike a deal.

"I know about making deals – I have done that all my life in the car business," Arbabsiar said, according to the government-retained psychiatrist. "Hell, if you want information, I will give you information. If you want addresses, I will give you addresses."

Arbabsiar surmised that since nobody had died as a result of his actions, he could provide information in return for leniency during his sentencing. On Oct. 1, two days after being arrested, Arbabsiar decided to go on the offensive, the government report shows.

During the previous sessions, before the interrogation began, the FBI agents would spend about 15 minutes talking to Arbabsiar about matters unrelated to the investigation while they had coffee and muffins for breakfast. Except on this day, Arbabsiar emerged from his room wearing only what appeared to be a towel or boxer shorts. "Let's sit down," he instructed the agents.

"My sense of this was that it was deliberate on his part and in my view was a bit of a power play," said Dr. Susan Brandon, a psychologist who was present during all of the post-arrest questioning.

"He was manipulating us," said one of the FBI agents who questioned Arbabsiar.

The tactic apparently did not work.

"If it happened again, I would say 'I am not going to tell you anything until I have an attorney,'" Arbabsiar said, according to the government report. "I am not going to give you free shit, this information is worth something – it is worth money."

Over the course of 12 days, Arbabsiar ended up providing agents information that authorities would later classify as "extremely valuable intelligence." On at least three occasions he called his handlers in Iran and spoke in prearranged code.

Then, worried he might be endangering his family, Arbabsiar decided to stop calling Iran. The authorities finally took him before a judge on Oct. 11, 2011.

Today, Arbabsiar spends his days in prison listening to the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, and ABBA. On occasion, he cries when thinking of how possibly spending 25 years in jail will separate him from his family – including his wife, son and newborn grandson.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January of next year.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...