The Trump Administration Panicked Over Nothing

By Daniel Larison

May 21, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - The Trump administrationís overhyped claims of an increased Iranian threat went over like a lead balloon with allied officials this week:

A NATO military intelligence official who was briefed on Pompeoís claims about increased Iranian aggression in the Middle East said the substance of the intelligence that the Americans briefed was utterly unconvincing ó even insulting [bold mine-DL].

ďDo they think that we are stupid?Ē asked the NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Pompeo has a record of making false and exaggerated claims about Iran and its involvement in other conflicts, especially in Yemen, so he probably didnít have much credibility among allies going into this. It isnít surprising that his presentation of the latest administration spin didnít go over well. Our treaty allies donít share the administrationís Iran obsession and donít want to be drawn in to a new conflict, so to convince them the evidence of new and unusual Iranian behavior would have to be very strong. At the same time, the Secretary of State has been so used to getting away with making outrageous false statements to Congress and the public for more than a year that he probably didnít expect to encounter so much skepticism when he tried to pass off weak evidence as if it were solid proof of increased threats.


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