‘Potentially Imminent Threat’ From Iran Grips Washington

Congressional leaders get classified briefing on Iran

All the foreign policy news these days is heavily centered on the idea that the United States is rapidly escalating tensions in the Middle East based on some non-specific Iranian threat, and that a major war with Iran is potentially about to break out.

That’s not just the story on the front page of papers, it’s also a major topic of discussion, and in some cases alarm, among lawmakers and other top officials in Washington D.C. There is also a hunger for more real information and less idle speculation.

A handful of Congressional leaders were given some information Thursday in a classified briefing, though they all came out of that meeting refusing to talk about it. A second classified briefing for the entire House and Senate is said to be planned for next week.

There is a lot of concern about the possibility of the US blundering into a war based on secret “threats.” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) is already sold on the idea after the briefing, saying that he is convinced by the information he was shown, and that there is “cause for greater concern” that Americans might be targeted by Iran.

Other lawmakers compared what is happening to the “march to war” before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. They want a lot more specifics about what the US is doing, and why, and have pushed the State Department to respond with specifics in the next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was a lot more specific in her message to the administration, noting that Congress has never authorized a war against Iran. Some senators have made similar comments in the past couple of days.

The administration hasn’t been very public in its approach to Congress during this escalation of tensions, likely in keeping with President Trump insisting that he has all the authority he needs as commander-in-chief to carry out unilateral operations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.