Esper: Troops deployed because of nonspecific Iranian embassies' threat

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Days after President Donald Trump claimed the USA killed Iran's top military general because he was targeting four American embassies, two of the President's top national security officials are declining to provide evidence of the intelligence used to justify the USA drone strike. "But it certainly is consistent with the intelligence to assume they would have hit embassies in at least four countries". "Time will tell", Esper said. "Soleimani orchestrated, resourced, directed the attacks, escalating up to December 1, that killed an American", Esper said.

Top Trump administration officials struggled Sunday morning to defend an airstrike that killed a senior Iranian general, acknowledging that they could not confirm President Donald Trump's assertion Friday that Iranians planned to attack four embassies.

When pressed on whether intelligence officers offered concrete evidence on that point he said: "I didn't see one with regards to four embassies". What I'm saying is that I shared the president's view that probably - my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.

"Rather than have a short-term political win, release the intelligence and say I told you so, we want to keep the American people safe going forward", he said.

"I was at the classified briefing because I'm both an Armed Services and Foreign Relations member, that wasn't told to us in the classified briefing, nor was there a suggestion that multiple embassies were threatened", Kaine said on CBS's "Face the Nation".

Soleimani, the leader of the elite Quds Force, was killed at Baghdad International Airport on January 3, just days after Iranian-backed militia groups tried to storm the US Embassy in Baghdad.

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"I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that they were meant to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel".

To back his claims, Ali said that many of "the most active and prominent liberal Twitter accounts" ignored the latest anti-government protests in Iran orchestrated by citizens angry that the Islamic Republic lied about shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet last week.

"It's always hard even with the exquisite intelligence that we have to know exactly what the targets are, but it's certainly consistent with the intelligence to assume that they would have hit embassies in at least four countries", O'Brien said. What the president said was, he believed it probably could have been.

"He was orchestrating an attack, likely, include an attack on the United States Embassy", he added.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on NBC's "Meet the Press" said administration officials were "dismissive of Congress" throughout the briefing.

When Tapper asked Esper to expand on if there was intelligence to suggest follow-up attacks, the Pentagon chief said he wouldn't discuss specifics of the information on TV.

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