President Donald Trump’s National Security Council, led by National Security Adviser John Bolton, asked the Pentagon to develop options for a military strike against Iran last year, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday citing unnamed current and former U.S. officials.
The request alarmed the Pentagon and State Department, the Journal reported, but the Pentagon complied with the request and developed the options. The Journal reported that it wasn’t clear whether Trump knew about, or was provided with, the plans for potential military strikes.
An unnamed “former senior U.S. administration official” said the request “definitely rattled people.”
“People were shocked,” the official added. “It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
The request came after militants, reportedly backed by Iran, fired rockets toward the U.S. consulate in Basra and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s diplomatic green zone in September. The attacks did not cause any American injuries or major damage.
“Over the past few days, we have seen life-threatening attacks in Iraq, including on the United States consulate in Basra and against the American embassy compound in Baghdad,” the White House said in a statement at the time. “Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons.”
The statement added: “The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States Government facilities.”
Bolton, well-known for his past cries to attack Iran, has made clear to other administration officials “that he personally supports regime change in Iran,” the Journal reported.
The NSC did not deny the Journal’s reporting in a statement for the article.
“We continue to review the status of our personnel following attempted attacks on our embassy in Baghdad and our Basra consulate, and we will consider a full range of options to preserve their safety and our interests,” a spokesperson for the NSC said.