FBI Informant Behind U.S. Drone Strike Says He’s Living a Nightmare

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

An FBI informant who leaked sensitive government secrets that reportedly then led to a deadly U.S. drone strike claims Iran’s fearsome security apparatus has targeted him for assassination over the perceived betrayal, forcing him underground, in an undisclosed location, following a botched kidnapping attempt.

In a heavily anonymized federal lawsuit obtained by The Daily Beast, “John Doe” says Iranian agents torched his car, broke into his home, and threatened his relatives after learning he was working with the American government. He now lives “in constant fear” of being killed by Iranian agents who have carried out dozens of hits and hundreds of abductions in various countries “with impunity,” according to his complaint.

Because Doe is a marked man, he went into exile in a nearby nation where he “must now avoid any public interaction, in order to remain safe,” the complaint states.

“This has required him to shut down four businesses that he owned, all of which require public interaction,” it says. “The value of these businesses exceeded $5 million.”

All told, Doe contends, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which in recent years has declared war on, among others, a podcaster in Vancouver who discussed sex on the air and a journalist in Brooklyn who criticized the regime, has “intentionally inflicted emotional distress, induced severe mental anguish and emotional and psychological pain and suffering, and caused the need for medical treatment.”

Doe’s attorney, former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), served papers on the Iranian regime through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Imam Khomeini Street, sending them via DHL, according to a tranche of companion court filings.

On Tuesday, Grayson, who filed the lawsuit on May 7, told The Daily Beast that the case was “extremely sensitive,” and “tragic on many levels.” He was unable to offer complete details of his client’s situation due to the obvious security issues, but said, “There have been many disturbing resorts of Iranian activity, particularly in Europe, that involves everything up to, and including, murder… This is a real problem.”

Doe himself was unable to be reached.

Accused Iranian Agent Sues Tehran for Ruining His Life

The terrifying situation in which Doe presently finds himself stems from a series of interactions he had with the FBI, according to the complaint. At those meetings, which took place on an unspecified date at an FBI office in Washington, D.C., and during “numerous visits to a U.S. facility at an overseas location,” the complaint says Doe provided “very detailed and specific information… regarding the efforts of the Government of Iran to evade U.S. and international sanctions, including the details of large, specific financial transfers for that purpose.”

Doe hired two unnamed family members in Iran to assist him in gathering the info, according to the complaint. It says Doe also shared intel with FBI agents in “numerous texts and instant messages to a United States telephone number.”

“The information that John Doe… conveyed to the FBI appears to have resulted in, among other things, a drone attack by the United States Government that killed a terrorist,” the complaint states.

What Doe didn’t know, however, was that Iranian government operatives were tailing him, and had apparently filmed him entering the overseas “U.S. facility,” according to the complaint. And that’s when things went bad.

After he was identified, Doe’s automobile was set ablaze by Iranian agents, the complaint alleges.

Next, it says, “[s]everal persons, resembling Iranians, went to [Doe’s] home, apparently with the intention of killing, torturing or kidnapping him. On information and belief, these persons were agents of the Government of Iran. These persons entered his home. John Doe… escaped from them, however.”

At this point, according to the complaint, a business acquaintance of Doe’s “with close ties to Iran” told him that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an Iranian paramilitary organization designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union, “knows that he provided information to the United States Government, and it intends to kill him.”

“John Doe… also has received texts and instant messages threatening action against him by the IRGC,” the complaint states.

“It has been publicly reported that agents of the Government of Iran have killed dozens of persons on foreign soil, and kidnapped hundreds of them,” the complaint says. “This activity, and the fact that the Government of Iran does so with impunity, has added to the fear and anxiety of [Doe].”

It says Doe’s two family members were also caught in the crosshairs of the regime, which sent a squad of intelligence agents to break into their home. There, the operatives identified themselves, after which they “threatened them and their children.”

The family subsequently fled Iran, according to the complaint.

“The nearby country where they are now domiciled publicly hosts numerous agents of the Government of Iran, so they must live there in secret,” it states.

Doe argues that the attacks on him and his relatives, and his property, constitute “acts of terrorism.” He is demanding a jury trial, along with “compensatory, economic, consequential, incidental and punitive money damages in an amount substantially exceeding $5 million.”

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