Ex-CIA chief: Chances for war 'more serious' after strike killing Iranian commander
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Former CIA chief Leon Panetta said the chances for war with Iran are “more serious” after this week’s airstrike killing Tehran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.

"The real question is whether or not this action has given us less of a chance of going to war or increases the chances of war. And I think right now we are closer to war with Iran than we’ve been in the last 40 years," Panetta said on CNN on Friday. "And that is a danger that we have to pay attention to that was not dealt with with one act."

Soleimani was a long-feared adversary of the U.S. who directed Iran’s wide network of proxy forces around the globe. He gained notoriety in Washington over his work with Iraqi militias supported by Tehran that killed hundreds of U.S. troops in the country since the 2003 invasion. 

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The Trump administration defended the strike against Soleimani, saying he had American blood on his hands and was planning another imminent attack. 

While Republican allies of the White House hailed the attack, Democrats expressed concerns that it would lead to further escalation in the Middle East, particularly after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded by vowing “harsh retaliation” over the killing.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond,” former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE, a leading 2020 candidate, said in a statement.