Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing a $180m US spy drone but pulled back last minute as planes were in the air and ships in position against the advice of some of his top aides, according to reports.
Military and diplomatic officials were said to be expecting a strike as late as 7pm Thursday, with planned attacks on Iranian targets including radar and missile batteries approved, The New York Times reports.
The paper says multiple senior administration sources confirmed the plans.
One insider is said to have told them planes were in the air and ships were in position when the mission was called off - against the advice Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John R. Bolton and CIA director Gina Haspel.
Iran had earlier released GPS coordinates suggesting the drone was eight miles off its coast. That put the missile within the 12 nautical miles from the shore Iran claims as its territorial waters.
Officials there later said they had ‘indisputable’ evidence the drone violated its airspace.
But the US said it was shot down 21 miles off the Iranian coast, in the Strait of Hormuz.
The president held a Situation Room briefing Thursday evening where his administration is said to have promised a ‘measured’ response to Iran after Washington accused Tehran of shooting down a drone and attacking oil tankers.
Those in favor of a military response are said to have included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John R. Bolton and CIA director Gina Haspel.
US (Daily Mail) 21 June 2019