WASHINGTON (NYT) — 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.