U.S. officials responsible for the drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020 have targets on their backs.
The then-leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force was killed by a U.S. drone after he exited a plane at a Baghdad airport.
Then-President Donald Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time they ordered the strike in response to an imminent threat of attack. The 45th president said he ordered the drone attack “to stop a war.” He said the United States was not pursuing regime change in Iran, but called on Tehran to immediately end Iranian “aggression in the region.”
A classified June report issued by the National Counterterrorism Center indicated Trump, Pompeo and former CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie are prime targets for attack, according to a report from Yahoo News.
The NCTC report stated Tehran has publicly expressed a willingness to conduct lethal operations inside the United States since January 2021. The report noted Trump, Pompeo and McKenzie were considered priority targets for retribution.
“Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions,” stated the counterterrorism report.
The intelligence report, dated June 16, is marked “Not for Public Release” and “For Official Use Only,” according to the Yahoo report. Those classifications are among the lowest levels of security clearance issued for documents. It is dated two days after the White House officially announced President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East.
Trump further angered Iranian leaders when he unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 treaty brokered by former President Barack Obama. That deal eased sanction on the Middle East Islamic state in return for delaying pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
The former president may not be too worried about the report because he was never a fan of U.S. intelligence agencies. He famously remarked about how “they lied and people died” in reference to CIA reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
No WMD were ever found by U.S. forces despite intensive searches by American forces after the invasion of Iraq.
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