Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
National Security Advisor John Bolton answers questions from reporters as he announces that the U.S. will withdraw from a treaty with Iran during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, October 3, 2018.
The White House requested options for a military strike against Iran last September, a report by the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday, citing current and former U.S. officials.
The request, reportedly made the National Security Council led by national security advisor John Bolton, alarmed Pentagon and State Department officials, The Journal wrote on Sunday. The Council made the move after an Iranian-aligned group fired missiles into Baghdad’s diplomatic quarter, which hosts the U.S. embassy in Iraq. No one was harmed.
According to the publication, it remains unclear whether President Donald Trump himself knew about the request, whether the Pentagon ultimately delivered military options to the White House, and if concrete attack plans against the Islamic Republic were actually formulated. But officials who spoke to the publication confirmed that the Defense Department did indeed comply with the National Security Council’s request to develop those options.
Bolton, an avid proponent of the Iraq invasion during the George W. Bush administration, has long taken one of the hardest lines against Iran in Washington and has openly supported the idea of regime change in Tehran.
A spokesperson for the White House did not immediately reply to a CNBC request for comment. Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council told The Journal: “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.”
The full report from the Wall Street Journal can be found on its website.