Washington, January 3, 2020
| Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“Today, I was briefed on the intelligence that led to President Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani. Although I cannot discuss any of the specifics of that briefing, I have several concerns about the increasing prospect of war with Iran.
“There is no question that Soleimani played a leadership role in Iran’s malign and deadly activity throughout the region for decades. At the same time, his targeted killing and the U.S. airstrikes that killed Iran-aligned Iraqi militia members have sharply escalated tensions with, and are likely to prompt a response from, Iran. We have been on this path of escalation since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Administration’s imposition of sanctions under the maximum pressure campaign, followed by Iranian led attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq, on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, and other malevolent Iranian action.
“If the Administration had some broad strategic objective in mind or was acting in concert with our allies and making progress towards modifying Iran’s belligerent behavior, Americans could have confidence that this latest U.S. strike would make us safer. But if there is some broad strategy at work, the Administration has yet to articulate it. More ominously, it has yet to show that ‘maximum pressure’ is doing anything but prompting more dangerous and deadly responses from Iran and increasing the likelihood of full-fledged war.
“The Administration owes Congress and the American people answers.
“Why was the decision to kill Soleimani made now, when prior Administrations of both parties considered the risk of escalation to outweigh the benefits? What is the broader strategic plan, and why hasn’t the Administration been able to persuade our allies of its merits? How does the Administration intend to deescalate and avoid a destructive conflict with Iran that is not in our interests? Will the Administration commit to coming to Congress to seek authorization before taking any further military action, which is likely to lead us into war?
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed by the Administration on these questions and on any next steps under consideration.”