REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Eric S. Powell/Handout
- The US received credible intelligence, apparently from Israel, that Iran was plotting an attack against US interests in the Persian Gulf, according to Israeli media.
- The Pentagon agreed to US Central Command request for additional firepower, according to The New York Times, and the White House announced the redirection of a US Navy carrier strike group and a US Air Force bomber task force to deter Iran with the threat of "unrelenting force" in response to an attack.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force are being sent to "send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime," White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday.
This decision "represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces," Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said Monday.
(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the new head of US Central Command, requested the additional firepower after reviewing intelligence hinting at a possible Iranian attack on US interests in the region, according to The New York Times.
Shanahan approved the request, and the White House announced it, stressing that "any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated this point Monday. "It is absolutely the case that we’ve seen escalatory action from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests," he said.
The intel, according to Israeli media, appears to have come from Israel, which reportedly provided relatively vague information on a possible Iranian plot against US targets in the region or US allies. Fox News confirmed that the intel came from a friendly intelligence service.
"It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing US pressure campaign against them," an Israeli official told reporters. "They are considering retaliating against US interests in the Gulf."
US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman
Tensions between Washington and Iran have been on the rise since the Trump administration made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The US has targeted its military forces and is currently in the process of trying to cut off Iran’s energy exports.
If this is the impetus for the latest redirect, which Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson has been celebrating as a shining example of the opportunities provided by the military’s dynamic force employment strategy, it would suggest that the US is bringing out the big guns in hopes of being ready for anything without a clear picture of exactly what this Iranian threat might be.
The Lincoln is currently in the US European Command area of responsibility, operating in the Mediterranean Sea, but it, along with US bomber aircraft, is being redirected on an accelerated timetable to the Persian Gulf, according to the Pentagon.
- How the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier lives on in other US Navy flattops
- US Navy sailors were told to ‘clap like we’re at a strip club’ for Pence’s aircraft carrier visit
- The Trump administration just sank the Pentagon’s controversial plan to mothball an aircraft carrier decades early