The number of these "imminent threats" seems to vary from one to four to six, although "four" appears to be the number that most GOP officials have decided to settle on. And the four targets seem to fall under the rubric of "embassies." The problem with that is -- well, no, "are," since there are two problems.
The first is that the administration official who should be most in the know as to the reason and number of "imminent threats," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, can't confirm any of that. When asked on Saturday if there was, in fact, specific evidence for these four "imminent attacks" answered by saying, "I don't see one with regard to four embassies." (Note: this previous sentence might be incorrect by the time everyone reads it, since the correct title for Mr. Esper might soon be, "former Secretary of Defense.") Further, even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while insisting on the four "imminent threats" (or however many), has also said it wasn't certain "when" or "where" they would be. So, perhaps there were dozens. Or one. And that they weren't imminent.
The second problem is that according to every U.S. Senator of either party who has commented on the initial security briefing they were given by the administration there was absolutely no mention of even a single imminent threat to U.S. embassies, let alone four. That only came later when Trump address one of his religious revival rallies.
By the way, there's something here that shouldn't be overlooked. It's been mentioned off-handedly, but I think deserves much more attention. It's that the aforementioned security briefing on reasons for the attack was classified, which is why no senator has given any specific details publicly -- yet Trump went to a rally and blurted it out publicly. So, there are two possibilities here. One, that Trump gave away classified information on a bombing attack that could still conceivably start a war. Or two, he was lying and therefore this wasn't an actual "reason" and therefore not classified.
But above all this, there is one notable detail in all this that has galled me from the first and has been pretty much completely overlooked in the media. What I would dearly love is for reporters to ask Trump, his administration spokespeople and every apologist repeating his claims the same, very simple, very basic question --
"For three years, Trump has been attacking U.S. intelligence. When every intelligence service said that Russia alone attacked the United States, Trump dismissed their 17 unanimous findings and instead said he believed what Vladimir Putin told him. To this day, he continues to not believe U.S. intelligence that Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with cyberattacking the U.S. Yet now, he is relying on what he says is clear U.S. intelligence that there were four imminent attacks planned by Iran, and as a result he had killed the second most powerful government official in Iran, risking a war. Since Trump now says he believes the information supposedly given him by U.S. intelligence, does this mean that he has now changed his opinion about the 17 U.S. intelligence services and has revisited earlier intelligence about Russia alone attacking the U.S. and now believe it, as well? And if not, why did he believe this supposed intelligence on non-specific 'imminent threats' and not the earlier intelligence which was unanimous from all 17 agencies?"
And I would love to see this question asked over and over and over and over again, to everyone insisting on the intelligence reports of "imminent attacks." And I'd love to see analysts on TV and in publications address the very same point.
In lieu of that, I'm happy to do so here.