The administration continued to make emphatic but vague assertions of intelligence indicating an imminent threat by General Suleimani. General Milley would later tell reporters that not taking forceful action to stop the imminent attack would be a dereliction of duty. But officials still did not describe the threat in detail.
****************************** “We caught a total monster and we took him out. … We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. ”
– Mr. Trump, in a news conference
Mr. Trump made his first remarks identifying a specific threat against a specific target in the region: the American Embassy in Baghdad.
But later in the news conference, Mr. Trump appeared to conflate the suggested threat of bombing the embassy withprotesters who had broken into the embassy compoundat the time.
“If you look at those protesters, they were rough warriors. They were Iranian-backed, ”Mr. Trump said. “Had they gotten through, I believe we would have either had a hostage situation or we would’ve had a, worse, we would’ve had a lot of people killed.”
Mr. Trump’s assertions came on the same day that his own officials were still refusing to go into detail with members of Congress during briefings on Capitol Hill. Defense officials say that their hands were tied because the intelligence was classified. Disclosing it, they said, could compromise intelligence sources.
“There were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassim Suleimani. We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where. ”
– Mr. Pompeo, on Fox News