NBC Says Trump Authorized Soleimani Hit Seven Months Ago, but Blue-Pencils British Factor
Jan. 14, 2020 (EIRNS)—NBC reported on Jan. 13 that Trump actually authorized the hit on IRGC Gen. Qasem Soleimani seven months ago but only on condition that increased Iranian aggression resulted in the deaths of Americans and only if he had the final say on any specific operation to kill Soleimani. “There have been a number of options presented to the President over the course of time,” a senior administration official said, and that it was “some time ago” that the President’s aides put assassinating Soleimani on the list of potential responses to Iranian aggression.
In June, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, both then-National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lobbied Trump to strike back by authorizing the killing of Soleimani. Trump, however, rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The President’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.
Within the administration, the idea of targeting Soleimani apparently goes back further to Pompeo’s role as CIA Director early in the administration. At that time, he urged Trump to consider taking a more aggressive approach to Soleimani after showing him intelligence on what a second senior administration official described as “very serious threats that didn’t come to fruition.” The idea gained more support when Bolton came in as Trump’s national security adviser in early 2018. It was Bolton, last April, who helped prod Trump to designate the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.
Then-British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, was also in the middle with Pompeo and Bolton, although NBC makes no mention in its report. A leak of his diplomatic cables to London in July of 2019 revealed that Darroch was working to provoke a war between the U.S. and Iran, suggesting that if an American should get killed, Trump would relent to the British war plan.