As for when President Donald Trump authorized the killing of late Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, a new report shows it may have been months prior to the death of the head of the Quds Force.
NBC News reports that Trump apparently authorized Soleimani’s death roughly seven months prior, on the condition if an American was killed, according to five former and current senior administration officials.
The authorization, according to the sources, came last June. However, Trump had to have the final sign off on a specific attack that would kill Soleimani, as NBC News reports.
One official told the outlet, “There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time.”
According to NBC News, both former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted Trump to kill Soleimani after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down a U.S. drone in June of 2019.
On, Dec. 27, an American defense contractor was killed at an Iraqi military base in a rocket attack.
However, as NBC News reports, “the timing … could undermine the Trump administration’s stated justification for ordering the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani.” The administration has claimed that the Iranian general was planning an imminent threat.
A U.S. airstrike, authorized by Trump, killed Soleimani on Jan. 3 in Baghdad. Since, the president has claimed that part of the decision was because “they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
The administration has faced questioning on the claim that the former Iranian general was plotting an imminent attack against Americans. As IJR reported, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he believes “they were going to go after our embassies” but added that the president has not cited a “specific piece of evidence.”