Not long after apparently attending an intelligence briefing, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to threaten Iran against a covert attack the Islamic nation is allegedly planning on U.S. interests in Iraq, Raw Story reported.
“Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq,” the president tweeted. “If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!”
Trump’s tweet raised eyebrows for both its language — the use of the phrase “upon information and belief,” in particular — as well as his choice to share the information on social media.
“This is language used in affidavits that accompany warrants or confidential submissions,” tweeted American lawyer Joyce Alene. “Is the President repeating confidential information from US intelligence resources on Twitter?”
It’s unclear if the information was received during Trump’s scheduled Wednesday intelligence briefing, which reportedly took place one hour before he tweeted his newest threat. Regardless, Alene wasn’t the only one to take aim at the president’s curiously timed attack.
“‘Upon information and belief”? Since when did Trump tweets read like affidavits?” added writer Dan McLaughlin.
Investigate reporter Mike McIntire echoed McLaughlin, noting that such language is usually used in civil lawsuits, in cases where evidence is “second-hand or aspirational.”
Other social media users accused Trump of lying and suggested that “information and belief” should not prompt military action.
Fox News claims that sources spoke to the network and told them the United States believes Iranian-backed proxies are planning a covert attack. According to the sources, Trump’s comment is a warning to Iran to have their proxies “back down or face consequences.”
1/ The jury is still on regarding American foreign policy and its future in the middle of the corona crisis.— Maria Maaloof (@bilarakib) March 28, 2020
If America withdraws from #Iraq, Iran will gain more power there.
President #Trump has to weigh his options #mariamaaloof @POTUS pic.twitter.com/ZMZP3gA3kA
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday responded to Trump’s threat. The ministry released a statement warning against “warmongering” amid the coronavirus pandemic. They pointed out the potential of such behavior to exacerbate tensions that could create regional “instability” and “catastrophic conditions.”
As reported by The Hill, the U.S. and Iran were on the brink of war earlier this year after a rocket attack that the president’s administration pinned on Iran-backed militia killed U.S. soldiers. In response, Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which led to an Iranian attack on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops. After a period of calm, Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah forces initiated a rocket strike that killed two more U.S. troops, which prompted a retaliation from the U.S. on five of the militia’s weapons stores.
More recently, the two countries clashed when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously slammed Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for allegedly pinning responsibility for the outbreak of COVID-19 on America.