UPDATED 11:32 AM PT — Sunday, January 12, 2020
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has reaffirmed his belief that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. prior to the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. On Sunday, Esper stated an attack against the U.S. was “days away” and said it was described as being much bigger than previous actions taken by Iran.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 12, 2020
He called Soleimani the “world’s foremost terrorist,” citing his previous track record of attacks and killings.
“We are safer today than we were just a few weeks ago. Why? Because we took out the world’s foremost terrorist leader, Qasem Soleimani, who had the blood of hundreds of American service members on his hands. Secondly, we restored deterrence with Iran without any United States casualties. And third, we reassured our partners and allies in the region that we will stand up and defend our interests.”
– Mark Esper, U.S. Secretary of Defense
The secretary also sided with President Trump, and other intelligence officials, in regards to Iran’s suspected intent to target several U.S. embassies.