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National security adviser: US embassies not evacuated because ‘we’re not going to cut and run every time somebody threatens us’


National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that U.S. embassies were not alerted or evacuated due to the “imminent threat” of an attack because “we’re not going to cut and run every time somebody threatens us.”

ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos pressed O’Brien about the intelligence purportedly showing an imminent threat to Americans and asked why the administration didn’t evacuate U.S. embassies in the region.

“I can tell you with respect to other embassies in the region, we’ve taken very reasonable security precautions there, and it’s something we monitor all the time,” O’Brien said. 

O’Brien said President Trump was “decisive” and noted the administration’s decision to send troops in reaction to the protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad last month.

He contrasted the Trump administration’s reaction to what happened at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, resulting in the Iranian hostage crisis, and in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

The adviser added he would like to release the intelligence that justified the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani but added it wouldn’t be best in the long-term.

“I’d love to release the intelligence,” he said. “The reason we don’t, George, is because that  same intelligence, those same streams and channels, are what allow us to protect Americans going forward.” 

“So rather than have a short-term political win, release the intelligence and say, ‘I told you so,’ we want to keep the American people safe going forward,” O’Brien added.

{mosads}The Trump administration has fallen under scrutiny after a U.S. strike killed Soleimani. The administration has claimed there was evidence the general was conducting an “imminent attack” on Americans but has declined to release further details, even to congressional members.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), as well as many Democrats, condemned the administration for its briefing on the attack, saying the intelligence was lacking. 

The killing of Soleimani prompted Iran to strike Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops last week. President Trump has said it seems like Iran is stepping down its attacks.

Tags Benghazi attack death of soleimani Donald Trump Embassy attack George Stephanopoulos Intelligence Iran Iran strike Iranian hostage crisis Mike Lee Rand Paul Sunday shows
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