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article imageOp-Ed: Esper denies seeing evidence of imminent attack on US embassies

By Ken Hanly     Jan 13, 2020 in Politics
On Friday President Trump said he believed that assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was plotting to attack four US embassies. However, Trump offered no evidence for his belief. The appended video contains Trump's remarks on the imminent attacks.
Esper said he had seen no evidence to back up Trump's belief
On CBS on Sunday Defense Secretary Esper said he had seen no evidence at to support the claim that US embassies were under imminent threat. Even after admitting he had no evidence Esper went on to say that he shared Trump's views that US embassies would probably have been attacked. There had been no warning to embassies that there might be an attack If there were an imminent attack feared one would think that a warning of some sort would have been issued.
When asked if he had any specific evidence of an attack on the four embassies mentioned by Trump Esper said: " “I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies.” In response to a question about whether Trump was “embellishing” the threat, Esper said, ”I don’t believe so.” "
In later appearances Esper changes his narrative
Esper's second appearance of the day was on CNN. Esper said he believed the same as Trump adding that Iran could very well have been targeting the US embassies.
Later in the day, Esper was actually bragging of the exquisite intelligence he had received. However, he claimed that everyone agreed that the US Congress should not be given access to this intelligence let alone the US populace. But if his earlier statement is true, this exquisite intelligence gave Esper no evidence of an imminent attack on US embassies.
Trump's security adviser plays down Trump's claim: "Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Robert O’Brien, the president’s national security adviser, played down Mr. Trump’s claim of specific, imminent threats to four American embassies in the region.“Look, it’s always difficult, even with the exquisite intelligence that we have, to know exactly what the targets are. We knew there were threats to American facilities, now whether they were bases, embassies — you know it’s always hard until the attack happens...But,” he added, “we had very strong intelligence.”
Senator complains about quality of information provided to Congress
A recent article
notes: "Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has continued to express concern about the quality of information given to Congress, and it seems that may extend to national security officials. President Trump never even suggested the four embassies belief had evidence behind it, it was just what he believes."
As noted earlier, Esper had no plan to share intelligence information on the issue with the entire US Congress: "Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that the top congressional intelligence committee members did not think that information shared with them about a potential Iranian plot to attack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad should be shared with other members of Congress. " Esper's view was shared by all other members of the intelligence committee. Perhaps the reluctance to share the information is because there is nothing there that shows there was any imminent attack on US embassies or on any other facilities.
US officials may be changing there stories so as not to appear to be contradicting President Trump as they fear that contradicting him could very well have negative consequences for their careers.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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