Vice President Mike Pence is coming under fire after falsely linking Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani to 9/11, a claim that is not backed by evidence and contradicted by the U.S. government’s official report on the attack.
Pence made the claim after a controversial attack ordered by President Donald Trump that left Soleimani dead. As The Huffington Post noted, Pence made a misleading claim that falsely asserted Soleimani was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack in an attempt to justify the attack this week at the Baghdad airport that killed the popular Iranian military leader.
Pence had claimed in a tweet that Soleimani helped “10 of 12” terrorists travel through Iran to Afghanistan. As The Huffington Post noted, Pence was wrong even in the number of hijackers involved in the 9/11 attack — there were a total of 19, with most having ties to Saudi Arabia. A spokesperson for Pence later said that he meant to say the 12 hijackers who traveled through Afghanistan were assisted by Soleimani.
As the report noted, Pence’s claim came under widespread criticism, with many pointing out that there are no facts backing the vice president’s argument.
“Pretty much everything in that tweet is not correct,” said CNN security analyst Peter Bergen, calling Pence’s claim a “crazy conspiracy theory that for some reason the vice president is pushing.”
As Vox noted, even the 9/11 Commission report itself contradicted the claim that Iran was involved. The report noted that the hijackers who traveled in or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001 were not assisted by Iran in any way and that Iran did nothing to facilitate the attack.
“We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” the report read.
“At the time of their travel through Iran, the Al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.”
The report did say that there was strong evidence that Iran facilitated travel for some al Qaeda members in and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, but there was no evidence that Soleimani played any role in it.
The Trump administration has come under fire for the attack that killed Soleimani. As The Inquisitr noted, New York Times terrorism correspondent Rukmini Callimachi noted that there did not appear to be evidence to back the administration’s claim that Iran was planning an imminent attack. Instead, the administration made a series of illogical leaps based on three general pieces of intelligence, Callimachi reported.