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CNN spins up dire warning from Joint Chiefs to Congress, omits critical facts to spread fear

(NBC News video screenshot)

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CNN has been accused of using lies by omission to fear-monger over the Trump administration’s elimination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

While his elimination has certainly increased tension with Iran and heightened risks of an attack from the rogue regime, whether or not an attack will actually occur remains unknown. Also known is whether any attack will even prove to be successful.

But according to critics, that’s not how CNN has portrayed the matter to its audience.

“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley publicly addressed the issue of potential retaliation from Iran Friday. When asked whether there is now a risk to US safety in the region, Milley bluntly said, ‘Damn right there is risk,” CNN reported Saturday.

According to ABC News, what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley actually said to a small group of reporters late Friday was this: “Is there risk? Damn right, there is risk, but we’re mitigating it.

For some reason, CNN stripped the “but we’re mitigating it” part of the quote from its report. The network also neglected to include remarks Milley reportedly made in defense of President Donald Trump’s decision to take out Soleimani.

“Milley [said] that within the last 90 days Kata’ib Hezbollah, aka KH, an Iranian-backed militia, organized a sophisticated campaign against U.S. and coalition forces that increased in intensity, culminating with the Dec. 27 attack on the Iraqi base near Kirkuk that killed a U.S. civilian contractor and wounded several U.S. and Iraqi forces,” ABC reported.

“It was ‘designed and intended to kill, and [Soleimani] approved it,’ Milley said. ‘I know that 100 percent.’ Milley said that the trigger for the drone strike that killed Soleimani was ‘clear, unambiguous intelligence indicating a significant campaign of violence against the United States in the days, weeks, and months,’ and that the administration would have been ‘culpably negligent‘ if it didn’t act.”

He reportedly added that while the Trump administration is aware of the potential consequences (an attack by Iran), the “risks of inaction exceeded risks of action.”

As of roughly 9:00 am Sunday morning, it appeared that none of these remarks — save for the “damn right” comment taken out of context — had been reported at CNN.com.

Writing for Mediaite, former RedState contributor Caleb Howe has also taken issue with the lede CNN used for its story.

“The Trump administration has warned members of Congress that Iran is expected to retaliate against the US ‘within weeks’ for the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani even as they failed to convince some that the operation was merited due to an imminent threat against American lives,” the lede reads.

But according to Howe, the evidence cited in the piece doesn’t justify the claim that an attack is expected.

Also, and I didn’t get to this in the article, this supposed briefing of congress was likely all staffers and no actual…

Posted by Caleb Howe on Saturday, January 4, 2020

Citing the words of anonymous sources, CNN claimed it’s clear “that it is not a question of if Iran will respond, but when, where and how.”

But citing another anonymous source, CNN then claimed: “the administration wanted to make it clear it couldn’t rule out retaliation within the next few weeks — or even months — given how Iran historically has responded to what it views as acts of aggression against the regime.”

To Howe, the sources seemed to contradict one another. More importantly, the sources seemed to contradict the words of Milley.

“So Milley said there is a risk, but that we are mitigating that risk. He said the risk of not acting was GREATER than the risk of acting,” he wrote for Mediaite.

“And the intelligence briefings, which were not a sudden, emergency briefing, did not state that the administration ‘expects’ retaliation ‘within weeks’ as CNN reported, but instead that officials ‘couldn’t rule out’ there’d be retaliation ‘within weeks or months.'”

It’s not clear which narrative is true.

In a follow-up piece published Sunday morning, CNN conveyed a message to the American people directly from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

“In an exclusive interview with CNN in Tehran, Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, said: ‘The response for sure will be military and against military sites,'” the report reads.

“Dehghan, a former defense minister, is the main military adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and is very close to the Supreme Leader.”

It was America that has started the war,” Dehghan added in his statement. “Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted. Afterward they should not seek a new cycle.”

The rest of the piece contained additional quotes from Dehghan, as well as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

It also included the claim that “[on Saturday], mourners in neighboring Iraq had chanted ‘Death to America’ at a funeral procession for Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader who died with him in a US airstrike in Iraq early Friday.”

Not included in the report were any details about all of Iran’s aggressive behavior preceding Soleimani’s elimination.

Nor was any of the following video evidence of Iraqis cheering his elimination included:

Vivek Saxena

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