Esper Saw No Evidence Embassies Were Under Threat

Esper: 'They probably could have been targeting the embassies'

On Friday, President Trump said he believed that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting to attack four US embassies. He offered the American public no evidence of this, which seems to be the same treatment Defense Secretary Mark Esper got.

On Sunday’s news shows, Esper struggled with this question. On CBS, he said he’d seen no evidence at all to support the idea that US embassies were under threat. He did say he shares the president’s view that “probably” the embassies would’ve been attacked.

This again suggests there isn’t good evidence to back up the president’s claim, as Esper presumably would’ve been in the loop on that matter if there had been. By his second appearance of the day, on CNN, Esper was more supportive of the Trump narrative, saying what Trump said “is what I believe as well.” He added that Iran “probably could have been targeting the embassies.”

Even later, Esper was bragging of “exquisite intelligence” he received. He claimed everyone was in agreement that Congress must not be given access to this intelligence.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has continued to express concern about the quality of information given to Congress, and it seems that may extend to national security officials. President Trump never even suggested the four embassies belief had evidence behind it, it was just what he believes.

This raises the distinct possibility that Trump came up with this Iranian plot, because it sounded good to justify the US assassination of Soleimani, and everyone else in the administration is just rubber stamping it because contradicting Trump is a risky career move.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.