Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Attorney General Barr: Soleimani killing was 'legitimate'

US Attorney General Barr: Soleimani killing was 'legitimate'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did nothing to clear up confusion over whether there was "specific" intelligence supporting President Trump's claim that there was an "imminent threat" by top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani to attack four U.S. embassies, during a Monday night interview on Fox News.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on January 10 that an attack on American embassies was looming. "The embassies are the most prominent display of American presence in a country". "We had a very brief window of time to carry out the attack", Barr said.

"America now enjoys the greatest position of strength regarding Iran we've ever been in", he said, pointing to the damage done to the Iranian economy by USA sanctions that Trump re-imposed following his withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Administration officials insisted that the strike prevented future, "imminent" "attacks", although they have said it was not clear to the United States exactly when or where they would take place. Iran retaliated to the hostile act by firing ballistic missiles at a US airbase in Iraq.

When pressed on whether intelligence officers offered concrete evidence on that point, Esper said: "I didn't see one with regards to four embassies". He did not cite any specific intelligence during the interview.

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"What the president said was that there probably could be additional attacks against embassies". U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he did not see specific evidence that Iran was planning an attack on embassies, during a Sunday interview on CBS's "Face the Nation", but felt it was likely. He added, though, that there also was "a set of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani"; he declined to get more specific. He says that killing Soleimani was part of the Trump Administration's goal of "real deterrence". News reported on Monday that Trump authorized Soleimani's killing months ago, in June, though the president still had to give the final authorization on any specific mission.

Even as the Trump administration faced questions about just how immediate any threat was, Attorney General William Barr on Monday argued it did not actually matter.

Barr told reporters that Soleimani was a "legitimate military target" and the strike was a "legitimate act of self-defence".

Khamis posthumously awarded Syria's highest military medal to Soleimani, noting that the honour reflected "the deep affection" of al-Assad for the late Iranian general.

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