The messaging this weekend from the top officials adds to an already complicated explanation of the intelligence the Trump administration claims was behind the USA attack that killed Soleimani.
"It's always hard, even with the excellent intelligence, that we need to know exactly what the goals are, but it's certainly consistent with the intelligence to assume that they would have hit embassies in at least four countries", O'Brien said. "It sounds to me that the government is going to panic a bit about the correctness of their reasoning and decide to share information with Fox News that they are unwilling to share with Congress".
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies, but Baghdad certainly would have been the lead. On Thursday, President Trump said the US killed Soleimani because he planned to "blow up the US Embassy" in Iraq. And then all of a sudden he was gone. Schiff said he and several members of the Gang of Eight were dissatisfied with the evidence laid out as a basis for the strike. When asked if Trump can do anything to aid the demonstrators, Esper referred to Trump's tweet of support, saying "I'm told that's the world record for number of likes on social media for a Farsi-language tweet". And I think that was one of the reasons that the senators in the briefing were so unhappy.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of DE, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was concerned that "Iran has lots of ways that they can take action against us, both overt and covert, and I don't think they're done trying to seek revenge".
But this issue seemed to be resolving on Sunday when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that although he shared the view that four embassies were at risk, he hadn't seen any specific intelligence to prove it. Why was there a difference?
However, in a separate interview with CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Esper offered a different explanation, saying that "what the president said was he believed that there probably and could have been attacks against additional embassies". "I shared that view". Colleagues credit O'Brien with fostering camaraderie among members of Trump's latest version of the national security team. "That's why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region", he remarked.
"The President didn't say there was a tangible - he didn't cite a specific piece of evidence".
"I didn't see one with regard to four embassies", he said. Trump said in an interview Friday that he approved the military attack earlier this month that killed Qasem Soleimani because he believed the Iranian general was targeting the embassies. He added that it was fair to anticipate a future Iranian attack "would have hit embassies in at least four countries".
Hassan Nasrallah described Iran's military response, which caused no casualties, as a "slap" at the U.S. He called it the "first step down a long path" that will ensure U.S. troops withdraw from the region. Is that a more accurate description than what the president provided?
In a series of tweets that were widely circulated, Ali, who is of Iranian descent, said that some on the left are using the Iranian people "as a tool to attack President Trump".
BRENNAN: Is that threat gone?
ESPER: That threat has been disrupted. One of the Briefer told me that most, nearly all of the members of this "Gang of Eight" think that the intelligence is also convincing and that it shouldn't be shared with the membership because of concerns that it may reveal our sources and methods, "he said".