US Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted on Sunday that he did not see any specific intelligence that showed top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani planning ‘imminent attacks’ on multiple American embassies, contradicting President Donald Trump’s stated reason for ordering Martyr Suleimani’s killing.
In a stunning admission, Esper said in a television interview that Trump merely believed embassies were something Martyr Suleimani might want to target, but had no evidence of a specific plot.
“The President didn’t say there was a tangible — he didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said is he probably, he believed, could have been,” Mr. Esper said on CBS. Pressed on whether there was a piece of intelligence that showed Martyr Suleimani wanted to attack US embassies, Mr. Esper said: “I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies.”
During an interview Friday with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Trump fired back at critics who opposed his decision to assassinate General Suleimani, claiming the Iranian military leader was readying assaults on four U.S. embassies, including in Baghdad. He did not cite any specific intelligence during the interview.
The President’s reasons for ordering Suleimani’s assassination have loomed large as the world has grappled with its aftermath, including Iran’s shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane carrying dozens of Canadians. Trump’s critics have argued that killing Suleimani was not worth the consequences if it was not necessary to prevent the imminent killing of Americans.
Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and the second-in-command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated on January by US in an airstrike near the Baghdad International Airport.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in a Sunday speech that Trump was the biggest liar in the history of US presidency, stressing that Qassem Suleimani was not planning for any attack against any US embassy. “This was a lie fabricated by Trump to hide his real motives,” he added.