Wall Street Journal reporter Dion Nissenbaum tried to stir up a new controversy involving the Trump administration and National Security Adviser John Bolton with a front-page story today (published online yesterday) that Bolton sought options from the Pentagon to attack Iran last September after Iranian-backed militants fired mortars against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the American consulate in Basra. Nissenbaum cited unnamed former U.S. officials who questioned Bolton’s request since the mortars did little damage and caused no injuries.
Nissenbaum tried to attribute Bolton’s request to his overly confrontational approach to Iran and his calls before he joined the NSC to attack Iran. But former Senator Joseph Lieberman rejected Nissenbaum’s assertion, telling Maria Bartiromo on Fox News yesterday that asking the Pentagon for options to attack Iran was “a reasonable and rational thing for John Bolton to do” since Iranian backed militants fired mortars at our consulate and embassy in Iraq.
Senator Lieberman is right. Ambassador Bolton asked for options for the President in response to attacks by Iran against U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq. That’s his job – to provide President Trump with a full set of foreign policy options. Weighing military action against Iran in response to an Iranian attack against U.S. citizens was not unreasonable.
Nissenbaum, who has written several fake news stories attacking Bolton and his aides, has added another to his repertoire.