Former director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta expressed concern on Friday that America is closer to war with Iran than it has been in recent history. This comes in the aftermath of the surprise U.S. military drone strike that took the life of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a strike authorized by President Donald Trump,
According to Mediaite, during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Panetta was asked if Soleimani was ever a name on any of his lists of targets during his time in the CIA or as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of defense.
“We had the names of terrorists like bin Laden and obviously al-Baghdadi and other terrorist leaders but Soleimani was never on the list,” he replied.
Blitzer went on to question why someone as high-profile and reportedly responsible for so many deaths of American troops wouldn’t be on such a list. Panetta explained that the way the United States looked at the situation at the time is that all Iranian military commanders, including Soleimani, were responsible for such actions. He said that it would have been difficult to single out the Iranian general without then singling out other officers for the same atrocities.
Panetta bottom-lined it by saying that the United States was solely focused on the entire country of Iran as the threat, as opposed to one general in its command structure.
Even though the former CIA chief appeared concerned that war with Iran was close, when Blitzer asked him if the president’s authorization to kill Soleimani was justified, Panetta said that nobody in America is mourning the commander’s death. He added that “he was a bad actor and he did kill thousands of innocent people and U.S. forces as well.”
“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,” Panetta said. “And I think right now we are closer to war with Iran than we’ve been in the last 40 years. And that is a danger that we have to pay attention to that was not dealt with with one act.”
As The Inquisitr reported Friday evening, a new round of airstrikes on Friday reportedly targeted an Iraqi militia group north of Baghdad thought to be controlled by Iran. The attack, which came on the heels of Trump reassuring the nation that he has no intention of starting a war with Iran, reportedly killed six occupants and injured three additional people.
There has been no confirmation by the Pentagon that the United States was responsible for the new round of attacks, which came less than 24 hours after the strikes against Soleimani and his men.