Le président Trump avait affirmé qu’une attaque planifiée contre quatre ambassades américaines était une justification de l’assassinat du général iranien.
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Le secrétaire à la Défense, Mark T. Esper, a déclaré dimanche qu’il n’avait jamais vu de preuves spécifiques que l’Iran prévoyait d’attaquer quatre ambassades américaines, comme le président Trump l’avait affirmé la semaine dernière pour justifier l’assassinat d’un général iranien qui avait envoyé les États-Unis et l’Iran au bord de la guerre.
«Je n’ai rien vu concernant quatre ambassades», a déclaré M. Esper sur «Face the Nation» de CBS. Mais il a ajouté: «Je partage le point de vue du président que probablement – je m’attendais à ce qu’ils s’en prennent à nos ambassades. . Les ambassades sont la manifestation la plus importante de la présence américaine dans un pays. »
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said on Sunday that he never saw any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies, as President Trump had claimed last week as a justification for the strike on an Iranian general that sent the United States and Iran to the brink of war.
“I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies,” Mr. Esper said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” But he added: “I share the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies. The embassies are the most prominent display of American presence in a country.”
The muddled message on Sunday by Mr. Esper and other administration officials only added to the public debate regarding the Jan. 3 strike that killed Iran’s most important general, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, and whether there was appropriate justification for the killing. The administration has offered shifting justifications for the strike.
In recent days administration officials have avoided offering specifics about what, exactly, prompted the airstrike, but on Friday Mr. Trump said that part of the reason was that Iran was planning attacks on four American embassies.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Mr. Esper had sounded more supportive of Mr. Trump’s claim.
“What the president said in regard to the four embassies is what I believe as well,” he said. “And he said he believed that they probably, that they could have been targeting the embassies in the region.
But appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, had also 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,” Mr. O’Brien said. “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 we had very strong intelligence,” he added.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah, one of the administration’s most outspoken Republican critics in the aftermath of the strike, said on CNN on Sunday that he was “worried” about the quality of the information that national security officials were sharing with Congress and had not “been able to yet ascertain specific details of the imminence of the attack.”