Air traffic controllers receive threats of possible “Iranian” retaliation


  • CBS News secured a threatening audio clip received by New York air traffic controllers, saying that a plane would fly into the Capitol to avenge the late Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
  • Experts warned that the intrusion should be taken seriously since it could impact air messages.
  • The sender of the warning is still being verified.

In an alarming audio exclusively gathered by CBS News, several air traffic controllers in New York heard a threat on Monday, saying: “We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged.”

The mentioned name refers to Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general who was killed through a US drone strike directed by President Donald Trump last year. The threat marked the first death anniversary of Soleimani, as Iranian officials have since pledged to retaliate against the US.

CBS News reported that Pentagon and other agencies were already informed about the voice recording on Tuesday, according to multiple sources, who also suggested that the warning posed a possible attack to Capitol Hill as the bicameral Congress would officially tally the Electoral College results on Wednesday.

According to experts, the breach was worrisome since it could influence the messages pilots to receive while on board as well as the flight routes.

After the threat, air traffic controllers received a directive from authorities to quickly report any threat or deviating plane from its designated route.

Even without issuing a statement regarding the incident, the FBI noted that it takes “all threats of violence to public safety seriously.”

As of now, authorities have not yet determined the sender of the message. Per CBS News, the government thinks that the threat could be just a bluff, but they would still probe the incident since it could be tagged as a breach of aviation frequencies.

The Federal Aviation Administration has already reached out to law enforcement authorities.

Source: CBS News

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