Re­port: White House sought mil­i­tary plans to at­tack Iran

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Wil­liam Cum­mings

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has asked for mil­i­tary op­tions on strik­ing Iran in re­sponse to that coun­try’s sup­port of in­sur­gents in Iraq, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Sun­day.

The coun­cil, un­der na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton, made the re­quest af­ter mil­i­tants aligned with Iran fired three mor­tar rounds into the di­plo­matic sec­tion of Bagh­dad, which in­cludes the U.S. Em­bassy, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. The mor­tars landed in a va­cant lot, and no one was in­jured.

The Jour­nal re­ported that the Pen­tagon de­vel­oped the plans in re­sponse to the re­quest, but it is un­clear whether the plans were shared with the White House or Trump.

Un­named sources told the Jour­nal the re­quest raised alarm within the De­fense and State De­part­ments.

“It was mind-bog­gling how cav­a­lier they were about hit­ting Iran,” a for­mer se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion official told the Jour­nal.

NSC spokesman Gar­rett Mar­quis said in a state­ment, “We con­tinue to re­view the sta­tus of our per­son­nel fol­low­ing at­tempted at­tacks on our em­bassy in Bagh­dad and our Basra con­sulate, and we will con­sider a full range of op­tions to pre­serve their safety and our in­ter­ests.”

For­mer U.S. officials told the Jour­nal “it was un­nerv­ing that the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil asked for far-reach­ing mil­i­tary op­tions to strike Iran in re­sponse to at­tacks that caused lit­tle dam­age and no in­juries.”

Bolton has long backed a more ag­gres­sive pol­icy to­ward Iran. He fa­vored pulling out of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion-era deal in which Iran agreed to pause its nu­clear weapons pro­gram in ex­change for re­duced sanc­tions.

John Bolton

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