According to a New York Times report, President Trump approved a military strike on Iran Thursday, June 20, in response to a drone downing before eventually withdrawing.
The New York Times revealed that a range of objectives including radar and missile batteries were prepared for the military strike before dusk on Friday as late as 7 p.m.
The strike was called off, but the Times stated that it was uncertain whether Trump had altered his mind or whether the government had altered its Iran policy.
Officials at the White House and the Pentagon refused to comment on the Times.
The strike came after a U.S. Navy drone over the Hormuz Strait was shot down by Iran.
In response to the shooting, Trump said Iran made a “very big mistake.
“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” he said during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Times noted a gap within the executive branch over whether to strike, with State Secretary Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and CIA Director Gina Haspel favoring a diplomatic reaction. Conversely, Pentagon leaders advised that doing so could present a danger to the region’s American powers.
Asked earlier in the day about a U.S. response to the attack, the president said pointedly, “You’ll soon find out.” But he also suggested that shooting down the drone was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation of the tensions that have led to rising fears of open military conflict, according to AP.
“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said at the White House. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”
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