Shanahan: U.S. Actions Deterred Attacks on Americans in Iraq

Aboard a military aircraft bound for multinational talks in Asia, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan was pressed for answers on tensions in Iran by reporters traveling with him.

Noting that May has been “a pretty tense month,” the acting secretary explained that the Defense Department operates in a high-risk environment and gets intelligence consistently that speaks to the threats in the region.

“This [incident] was an anomaly, and I think you saw the response in which how quickly we responded when sending the carrier strike group and the B-52s is really reflective of our confidence in the intelligence,” Shanahan told reporters.

“It was so credible that we moved back quickly [in] a matter of hours. … It deterred attacks on our people in Iraq,” he said. It’s important to emphasize there was not an attack, he added.

“Since that time, we’ve had additional intelligence, which is the normal part of operating in Iraq and in the region,” he said. “And there are ongoing conversations between the [U.S.] leadership in country.”

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