Speaking with reporters on Tuesday about growing tensions between the United States and Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to suggest an imminent attack against U.S. interests in the Middle East was what prompted an airstrike against a prominent Iranian military official in Baghdad, Iraq, last week.
However, Pompeo was not forthright with reporters about the details of those imminent attacks.
The Secretary suggested Iran was planning military missions beyond the Middle East, venturing into Afghanistan and even working with the Taliban in order to disrupt peace efforts in that country, but again offered no evidence to corroborate his statements.
“There’s an aspect of that conflict that deserves more attention. And that is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s involvement [in Afghanistan],” Pompeo said, according to the National Post.
“Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace, and is, in fact, actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global effort to support militant groups there,” including the Taliban, he added.
Pompeo insisted that President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani last week came about after “multitude pieces of information” came before him, CNN reported. However, Pompeo also said that information about imminent threats were made “in broad detail” to Trump as well.
Asked by reporters if he could be specific about the threats being made, Pompeo became defensive, and cited past events rather than current ones as the basis of the imminent threats.
REPORTER: Can you be specific about the imminent threat that Soleimani posed?
POMPEO: "We know what happened at the end of last year & ultimately led to the death of an American. If you are looking for immanence, look no further than the days that led up to the strike." pic.twitter.com/yhqyNToZxd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 7, 2020
“We know what happened at the end of last year, and ultimately led to the death of an American. If you are looking for imminence, look no further than the days that led up to the strike,” Pompeo said.
That reasoning didn’t sit well with a number of users on social media, including former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub, who shared his thoughts on Twitter.
“So the claim that specific intelligence showed imminent attacks were planned was a lie?” Shaub asked rhetorically. “It sounds like [Pompeo’s] saying there was no intelligence and they relied on publicly available news reports. This is truly a presidential administration that has no more credibility left to burn.”