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Watch Live: Iran strikes Iraqi military bases home to U.S. troops

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THE MILITARY MIGHT TAKE POTENTIALLY INCREASING READINESS OR PROTECTIONS FOR FORCES IN OTHER AREAS THAT THEY THINK MIGHT BE HIT NEXT >> AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LIKELY ACTIONS THE U

S COULD TAKE TO RETALIATE FOR ATTACKS LIKE THESE? >> THERE'S A WHOLE RANGE OF THINGS ANYTHING FROM A — COVERT MEANS LIKE CYBERATTACK TO A MISSILE STRIKE WITHIN IRAN WHICH WOULD BE ANOTHER BIG ESCALATION IN THIS WHOLE SITUATION

SO IT'S UP TO TRUMP >> WHAT IS, WHAT TRADITIONALLY WOULD BE THE US RESPONSE TO AN ESCALATION LIKE THIS BECAUSE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT'S A BIG ESCALATION OR A SMALL ESCALATION IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY AN ESCALATION >> LOOKING AT COMMANDER-IN- CHIEF RIGHT NOW, LOOKS LIKE HIS DECISION-MAKING IS PRETTY HIGH- RISK SO I WOULD SAY THERE'S A HIGH PROBABILITY BUT THEN AGAIN WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT THE PRESIDENT DOESN'T NECESSARILY WANT TO GO INTO ANOTHER WAR

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE IN PURSUIT OF ANOTHER ONE? WE HAVE TO END THESE ENDLESS WARS BUT AGAIN THIS IS A VERY HIGH RISK COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF >> HE HAS BEEN SAYING THAT BUT THAT'S BEEN BEHIND WITHDRAWING THE TROOPS FROM SYRIA FOR INSTANCE, BUT THEN THIS STRIKE ON SOLEIMANI SEEMS TO SUGGEST THE REVERSE BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOT MAKE A STRIKE ON IRAN'S TOP GENERAL WITHOUT IMAGINING THERE WOULD BE SOME SORT OF RETALIATION >> YEAH AND YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT IN TERMS OF DEITY GET KIND OF LACK OF TERM OF USING LUCKY OR DIDN'T NECESSARILY EXPECT TO ACTUALLY HIT GENERAL SOLEIMANI SO THAT'S ALSO THE BIG ARGUMENT THERE TOO BECAUSE DOING THAT YOU KNOW THAT THAT'S GOING TO ESCALATE INTO SOMETHING BIGGER

SO WE WILL SEE >> ALL RIGHT I WANT TO BRING IN BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU, A SENIOR FELLOW AT THE FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY'S WHAT HAS BEEN HIS ADMINISTRATIONS POSTURE TOWARD IRAN IN THE PAST, AND HOW HAVE WE SEEN THAT SHIFTING OR EVOLVING? >> GREAT TO BE WITH YOU THE POSTURE OF PROXIES IN THE PAST DO YOU MEAN? >> YEAH

HOW US STRATEGY TOWARDS IRAN, HOW HAS THAT BEEN CHANGING RECENTLY? >> US STRATEGY AS OF LATE DECEMBER HAS EVOLVED WITH IRAN BECAUSE WHEN IRAN AFTER SIX MONTHS OF ESCALATION FROM MAY UNTIL DECEMBER HAS INCREMENTALLY RATCHETED UP THE PRESSURE AGAINST AMERICA LOOKING TO GET AMERICA TO SUSPEND IF NOT ON UP AND ENTIRELY SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN, THOSE SANCTIONS WERE RESTORED WHEN DONALD TRUMP LEFT THE NUCLEAR DEAL, PENALTIES, FINANCIAL SANCTIONS AND WHATNOT THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY WAIVED RETURNED

AND WERE ISSUED AGAIN AND THOSE SANCTIONS WERE EFFECTIVE IN RECORD TIME AND IRAN HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR A WAY TO BREAK OUT OF THE BOX HENCE THE KIDNAPPING OF THE TANKER AND THE MINING OF PERSIAN GULF AND THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ, THE DOWNING OF THE DRONE AND ESCALATION BUILDS AND BUILDS AND BUILDS SO MUCH SO THEY KILLED AN AMERICAN, THE FIRST AMERICAN THAT DIED IS PART OF THIS MAX PRESSURE CAMPAIGN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO HAVE A VERY HIGH THRESHOLD FOR THE USE OF FORCE BUT FINALLY BLOOD WAS SPILLED, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RESPONDED AND METAL BEGOT METAL AND THE US

RESPONDED AGAINST AND IRAN BACKED SHIITE MILITIA FOR THE FIRST TIME SIMULTANEOUSLY ON THE IRAQI AND SYRIAN SIDE, THAT GOT THE RESPONSE FROM SUPPORTERS INSIDE BAGHDAD WHO STORMED THE OUTER WALLS OF THE IRANIAN, US EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD, THEN OF COURSE THE MINISTRATION DOESN'T HAVE THE INTELLIGENCE ABOUT THIS IMPENDING ATTACK BY SOLEIMANI AND DRONE STRIKE TOOK OUT IRAN'S MOST SEASONED MILITARY GENERAL IN THE PAST 40 YEARS >> FABULOUS THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT, FABULOUS JUST A DESCRIPTION AND SUMMARY OF YOU KNOW, THE PAST FEW SIGNIFICANT MONTHS BETWEEN THE U

S AND IRAN I ALSO WANT TO TALK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT THE FACT THAT IRAN WAS EXPERIENCING SOME PRETTY SEVERE CIVIL UNREST BEFORE THIS ATTACK ON SOLEIMANI WHICH I SUPPOSE WAS A DIRECT RESULT OF ECONOMY BEING SQUEEZED, CORRECT? YOU, OBVIOUSLY, KNOW BETTER WHAT WAS CAUSING THE PROTESTS HAS THIS GIVEN THE COUNTRY SORT OF A PASS AS IT WERE TO SORT OF REFOCUS ITS CITIZENS ENERGIES? >> IT MAY BE BUT AT THE SAME TIME, OF COURSE, THEY CAN'T CONSTITUTE A WAR IF IT'S BANKRUPT AND THE PROTEST WE SAW IN MID-NOVEMBER AGAIN, THE SPARK WAS QUITE SIMILAR TO THE PROTEST WE SAW IN 2017 AND 2018 WHERE ECONOMIC GRIEVANCE BY THE STREET AGAINST THE STATE BUT WHAT SUSTAINED THE PROTEST IN THE FACE OF PRESSURE WAS POLITICAL GRIEVANCES

AS LONG AS THERE'S BEEN AN ISLAMIC REPUBLIC THERE'S BEEN TESTS AGAINST THE STATE, AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AND THE MORE RECENT PROTESTS WE'VE BEEN SEEING ACTUALLY ARE RESPONDING TO MORE LEGAL FORCE AGAINST THE STREET AND ALSO HAPPENING MUCH QUICKER THERE USED TO BE DECADES BETWEEN SIGNIFICANT PROTESTS, NOW IT'S A MATTER OF MONTHS SO THE IRANIAN PEOPLE FEEL BRAVER, GOING TO THE STREETS MORE OFTEN BUT THEY ARE BEING MET WITH MORE LETHAL FORCE SO THAT IS THE PREDICATE TO THIS THE REGIME IS TRYING TO USE THE SOLEIMANI DEATH AS A RALLY AROUND THE FLAG MOMENT TIME WILL TELL IF IT WORKS BUT I DON'T THINK IT WILL WORK IF THIS CRISIS WE ARE SEEING NOW WITH MISSILE STRIKES AND IRAN'S RESPONSES DOES ESCALATE FURTHER, AND THERE IS ANY KIND OF STRIKE ON IRANIAN TERRITORY THAT COULD BE ONE OF THE DECIDING FACTORS TO GET THE POPULATION TO RALLY AROUND

BUT ANYTHING SHORT OF THAT I THINK THEY WILL REMAIN, A SIGNIFICANT CLEAVAGE BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE SOCIETY WHICH IS POSTREVOLUTIONARY >> RIGHT AND I'M CURIOUS WHAT EFFECT, WHAT LONG-TERM EFFECT THE DEATH OF SOLEIMANI WILL HAVE ON THAT HOW POPULAR WAS SOLEIMANI AMONG THE SORT OF YOUNGER IRANIAN GENERATION THAT APPEARS TO BE CRAVING MORE CIVIL FREEDOMS? >> WELL, IT SOUNDS LIKE SOME OF YOUR GUESTS MAY BE MORE EXPERT ON IRANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS THAN ME SO I'M HAPPY TO DEFER TO THEM BUT I THINK SOLEIMANI WAS MORE POPULAR AMONG SOME SEGMENTS THAN OTHERS, AMONG MILITARY REGIME, CERTAINLY SEEN AS A KEY FIGURE BUT HATED BY OTHER PARTS OF IRAN

THERE WERE MANY PARTS OF IRANIAN SOCIETY THAT DIDN'T WANT TO SEE THE RESOURCES GOING TO THIS OVERSEAS EMPIRE THAT HE WAS BUILDING AND TRYING TO BUILD AND IN SYRIA, LEBANON AND YEMEN AND SO THERE ARE MANY IN IRAN, YOUNGER GENERATION AS YOU POINT OUT WHO ARE MUCH MORE PRO- WESTERN IN THEIR ORIENTATION, YOU CAN'T SAY IT PUBLICLY BUT WOULD LIKE TO SEE A DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT IN POWER THAT WAS MORE RESPONSIVE TO THEIR NEEDS MORE RESPECTFUL OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND BASIC FREEDOMS >> BEHNAM, TELL US WHO IS THE BACKBONE OR WHO MAKES UP THE BULK OF THESE PROTESTERS, IN IRAN, AND ARE THOSE GROUPS LIKELY TO BE DIEHARD SOLEIMANI SUPPORTERS OR ARE THEY GROUPS FOR WHOM THE DEATH OF SOLEIMANI AND THE GRIEF WILL PASS MORE QUICKLY? >> YOU MEAN WHO WOULD BE A NATURAL CONSTITUENCY? >> EXACTLY IN TERMS OF THE GROUPS THAT WERE PROTESTING AND BEING FIRED UPON BY THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, THOSE GROUPS, HOW DID THEY, HOW ARE THEY LIKE TO FEEL ABOUT THE DEATH OF SOLEIMANI? >> THE MORE POPULAR, WELL-KNOWN PROTESTS IN MODERN HISTORY, 1999, THEY WERE ALMOST ENTIRELY CENTERED IN THE CAPITAL OF TEHRAN LARGELY AMONG THE MIDDLE CLASS AS WELL AS THE AFFLUENT AND SOME OF A LITTLE BIT MORE A LIBERAL DESTINATION WHEN IT DID SPREAD ELSEWHERE IN 2009

2017, 18, '19, FROM THE PERIPHERY YOU CAN CALL THEM BLUE-COLLAR PROTESTERS WE LIKE TO SAY THOSE WERE THE PEOPLE THE REVOLUTION WAS REALLY MADE FOR THEY WERE PART OF THE DOWNTRODDEN, THE URBAN AND RURAL POOR CLASSES, MORE RELIGIOUS CLASSES, AND UNLIKE THE MORE LIBERAL MINDED IRANIANS IN THE CAPITAL, THESE INDIVIDUALS ON THE PERIPHERY WERE CHASTISING THE REGIME USING HIGHLY NATIONALIST LANGUAGE NATIONALIST SLOGANS BASICALLY WHAT YOUR GUEST WAS SAYING ABOUT SPENDING MONEY ON FOREIGN WARS IS CORRECT THEY WOULD MOCK THE REGIME'S FOREIGN ADVENTURES, THEY WOULD MOCK THE FACT IRAN IS STANDING WITH PALESTINIAN TERROR AND REDUCTIONIST GROUPS AND THOSE CHANTS CONTINUED UP UNTIL PRESENT IN 2019 I SHOULD SAY, BECAUSE IRAN CONTINUED TO SPEND MONEY MORE ON THOSE FOREIGN ADVENTURES THAN ON BUILDING THE COUNTRY UP AT HOME

>> SO THAT DOESN'T BODE WELL FOR THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT IF YOU HAVE GROUPS AMONG THE MORE BLUE-COLLAR AREAS AND ELITISTS WHO ARE ALSO — >> WHICH IS WHY THEY RESPONDED WITH SUCH LETHAL FORCE AND SO QUICKLY AND WHY THEY UNDER THE MOST RECENT PROTESTS THAT STARTED IN NOVEMBER '15 INTO DECEMBER WHY THERE WAS AN INTERNET BLACKOUT DEMOCRACY DIES IN THE DARKNESS, IS THE TAGLINE OF "THE WASHINGTON POST" WHEN YOU SIMPLY LOOK AT THE LACK OF REPORTING THAT WAS ABLE TO GET IN AND OUT OF IRAN BECAUSE OF THE MEDIA BLACKOUT, BECAUSE OF PULLING THE PLUG OF INTERNET, IT'S CLEAR THAT NOW THE IRANIAN PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WHO ALSO DIE IN THE DARKNESS AND THERE WAS A REUTERS REPORT SAID THAT UP TO 1,500 KILLED IN THAT PROTEST MARKING IT THE MOST DEADLY PROTEST IN THE MODERN HISTORY OF ISLAMIST REPUBLIC >> HAS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION INADVERTENTLY HANDED THE IRANIAN REGIME A SORT OF GIFT IN DISGUISE? >> I DON'T THINK SO

MUCH DEPENDS ON THE US RESPONSE TO THIS THE FIRST THING I HAVE TO SAY IS I AM SHOCKED BY THE BRAZENNESS OF THIS THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC MAY HAVE BEEN BETTING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WON'T RESPOND, THAT'S WHY IRANIANS USUALLY PROLIFERATE WEAPONS, THEY DON'T TEND TO FIRE THEM BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE MORE OF A DEAD GIVEAWAY, THIS IS NOT LIKE THE CLASSIC MORTAR ATTACKS THAT YOU READ ABOUT COUNTLESS TIMES IN 2018 AND 2019, THIS IS A BALLISTIC MISSILE BARRAGE, THIS IS A SALVO, THIS IS AN ACT OF WARFARE

THERE IS A TARGET IN MIND, IT'S PART OF IRAN'S AIR FORCE, IT'S PART OF THE FORMAL MISSILE COMMAND OF THE COUNTRY, THIS HAS TWO REALLY GO UP THE CHAIN AND IT'S ALSO HIGHLY SYMBOLIC BUT IT'S NOT JUST SYMBOLIC SO AGAIN SO MUCH DEPENDS ON THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSE TO THIS THE RESPONSE IS ON IRANIAN TERRITORY ON THE PHYSICAL SOIL, I THINK YOU COULD HAVE A SLOW RALLY EFFECT

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT TARGET THE ADMINISTRATION WOULD HAVE IF THE RESPONSE IS AGAINST IRANIAN ASSETS OR DURING THE IRAQ WAR THE US SUNK TWO- THIRDS OF THE IRANIAN CONVENTIONAL NAVY AS WELL AS PART OF THE IRGC NAVY AREA SO THAT MAY BE AN OPTION FOR SOMETHING OFFSHORE LIKE OIL INSTALLATION OR ASSET THAT IS NOT ON IRANIAN TERRITORY MUCH DEPENDS ON THE TARGET AND THE WAY THE ADMINISTRATION WILL CHOOSE TO RESPOND TO

>> YOU CONSIDER BOTH OF THESE ATTACKS TO BE STRONGER THAN YOU WOULD HAVE EXPECTED FROM THE IRANIAN REGIME? >> QUALITATIVELY STRONGER >> DOES THAT REFLECT AN ELEMENT OF DESPERATION? >> I THINK THERE'S AN ELEMENT OF DESPERATION BUT ALSO PERHAPS AN ELEMENT OF MISREADING THEY HAVE MORE DATA ABOUT TRUMP'S PASSIVITY ON IRAN WHEN IT COMES TO MILITARY FORCE THAN THEY DO ABOUT TRUMP'S ACTIVENESS ON IRAN MEANING THAT THEY SAW THE US ABSORB SIX MONTHS OF RETALIATION FROM MAY TO DECEMBER

THE ONLY TIME THE US USED MILITARY FORCE WAS IN DECEMBER AGAINST THE CONTRACTOR AND WHEN THE US SHIFTED TO A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE WITH A DRONE AGAINST QASSEM SOLEIMANI

THEY MAY HAVE BEEN BETTING THAT'S ALL THE US COULD MUSTER I THINK IT'S HIGHLY LIKELY THE US

IS GOING TO RESPOND WITH MILITARY FORCE AND THAT TOO IS UNCLEAR IF IT'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO PUT THE IRANIANS OUT OR FOR THE CYCLE OF ESCALATION HOW MUCH OF THIS IS SIGNALING VERSUS BASICALLY WAR FIGHTING IT'S GOING TO BE UNFOLDING OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS >> IT IS CLEAR THAT THE IRANIAN STRATEGY OF THESE PETTY AND ESCALATING AGGRESSIONS AGAINST THE U

S HAS NOT BEEN WORKING FOR IT >> I THINK IT HAD BEEN BUT BECAUSE THE US, PSYCHOLOGICALLY, IRANIANS WERE TRYING TO OVER THE PAST SIX TO NINE MONTHS THE OPPOSITE OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT, ROOSEVELT MAXIMUM SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK, THIS WAS THE IRANIANS TRYING TO SAY TRUMP IS SPEAKING LOUDLY AND CARRYING NO STICK, HE WILL NOT ENFORCE REDLINES AND THE U

S IS A PAPER TIGER ALL THEY DO EASE SANCTIONS THESE ARGUMENTS THAT YOU HEAR FROM THEM AND THESE ARE PROBABLY THE ARGUMENTS THAT EXIST IN THE HALLS OF POWER IN THAT COUNTRY ESPECIALLY AMONG THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTONARY GUARD CORPS AND ESPECIALLY AMONG MEMBERS OF THE HIS COMMANDER WAS KILLED RECENTLY BY THIS DRONE THEY MAY HAVE BEEN SINGING THE CHORUSES OF MASSIVE ESCALATION

>> NOW JOINING ME ON THE PHONE IS JEFFREY MCCAUSLAND, RADIO NATIONAL SECURITY CONSULTANT AND A RETIRED US ARMY COLONEL JEFFREY, TELL US IF YOU WILL, PLEASE PUT IT INTO CONTEXT HOW SIGNIFICANT THESE TWO ATTACKS ARE

>> A HUGE ESCALATORY STEP BY THE IRANIANS, THEY HAVE ESCALATED THE USE OF WEAPONS, BALLISTIC MISSILES AS OPPOSED TO SHORTER RANGE WEAPONS OR MORTARS AND THE LIKE THEY HAVE ESCALATED IN TERMS OF GEOGRAPHY, THEY HAVE LAUNCHED WEAPONS CLEARLY FROM THEIR SOIL, AGAINST AMERICAN TARGETS IN IRAQ, THEY'VE ESCALATED BY MAKING A DIRECT ATTACK BY IRANIAN FORCES, FORMAL FORCES OF IRAN AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD HAVE ALREADY TAKEN CREDIT FOR THESE PARTICULAR ATTACKS AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST ONCE AGAIN, THEY ARE TAKING FULL CREDIT FOR THIS DEMONSTRATING NOT ONLY TO THE WORLD BUT TO THEIR OWN POPULATION THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE THIS TYPE OF MILITARY ATTACK AGAINST A MILITARY TARGET IN RESPONSE TO THE KILLING OF QASSEM SOLEIMANI >> AND YOU HAD BEEN TO THE AL ASAD AIRBASE MULTIPLE TIMES WHAT ROLE DOES IT PLAY FOR MILITARY FORCES THERE? >> BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS WHEN WE HAD HUGE FORCES IN THE REGION, THIS WAS A MAJOR BASE AND AN BAR PROVINCE WHERE THERE WAS FIGHTING IN PLACES LIKE FALLUJAH AND RAMADI, SO AL ASAD WAS A MAJOR BASE BOTH ROTOR WE WING, FIXED WING AND DRONES, ALSO A MAJOR RESUPPLY POINT FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HARDWARE, MUNITIONS TO SUPPORT US

FORCES AND AFTER WE RETURNED IN 2014, I HAVEN'T BEEN THERE SINCE WE RETURNED, MY GUESS IS IT PRESUMED THAT SAME KIND OF ROLE PROBABLY ALSO PROVIDING LOGISTICAL SUPPORT NOT ONLY FOR US FORCES BUT ALSO IRAQI FORCES AND MAY HAVE WELL BEEN THE SITE WHERE WE ARE CONDUCTING A LOT OF TRAINING OF IRAQI FORCES AS WE ALSO CONTINUE OPERATIONS TO DRIVE OUT AND DESTROY THE RESIDUALS OF ISIS STILL OPERATING IN IRAQ

>> WE ARE LEARNING THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND VICE PRESIDENT PENCE HAVE BEEN BRIEFED ON THESE ATTACKS WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHAT MIGHT BE GOING ON AT THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW IN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, WHAT SORT OF POSSIBLE RESPONSES ARE BEING WEIGHED? >> SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO AND ESPER HAVE ALSO GONE TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND OBVIOUSLY, THE PRESIDENT PAINTED HIMSELF INTO A CORNER BY HIS RHETORIC OR BY VOWING IN ADVANCE OF THIS THAT ANY ATTACK ON AMERICAN FORCES IN THE REGION WOULD BE CONSIDERED AN ATTACK BY IRAN AND ELICIT A MASSIVE AMERICAN RESPONSE NOW THAT HAS OCCURRED AND THE IRANIANS ARE TAKING CREDIT FOR IT SO IT'S HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE THAT THE PRESIDENT CAN IGNORE THAT PARTICULAR RESPONSE

THAT BEING SAID, WE NOW HAVE BEEN ONCE AGAIN AND CONTINUE TO BE ON AN ESCALATORY SPIRAL THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS BEGINNING WITH THE KILLING OF THAT AMERICAN CONTRACTOR AT A BASE IN NORTHERN IRAQ, SUBSEQUENTLY FOLLOWED BY US AIRSTRIKES, AND THEN FOLLOWED BY THAT BY THE KILLING OF QASSEM SOLEIMANI THE IRANIANS NOW HAVE RESPONDED TO THE KILLING OF SO MANY SO NOW WE ARE INTO THE THIRD MOVE IN THIS IMMEDIATE CRISIS

DOES THE ADMINISTRATION WANT TO CONTINUE TO ESCALATE, AND MOVE THE NATION CLOSER TO OUTRIGHT OVER AT WAR WITH IRAN, OR DOES IT WANT TO SEEK SOME WAY TO TRY TO DE-ESCALATE THIS CRISIS AND TRY TO BRING THINGS BACK DOWN AND HOPEFULLY FIND SOME EFFORT TO MOVE TOWARDS A DIPLOMATIC POLITICAL SOLUTION? THAT'S THE QUESTION THEY'RE GOING TO BE ASKING >> IT ALSO SEEMS LIKE THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO SORT OF DEAL WITH TWO CONFLICTING IMPULSES WHICH IS, THE LAST THING THAT HE WANTS OR ANYONE ELSE WANTS IS ANOTHER IRAQ WAR RIGHT? TO SEE LOTS OF TROOPS HEADING TO THE MIDDLE EAST TO FIGHT AT THE SAME TIME, LIKE YOU SAID, THERE IS A RHETORIC THAT HAS ALMOST PUT HIM IN A BOX AND SORT OF MADE INCREASED AGGRESSION INEVITABLE SO HOW DO YOU BALANCE THOSE TWO CONFLICTING IMPULSES? >> THAT'S WHERE THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO THREAD THE NEEDLE AND NOT FORGET THIS IS A GUY WHO RAN ON A PLATFORM OF REDUCING U

S MILITARY PRESENCE IN THE REGION WHICH RESONATED VERY LARGELY WITH HIS BASE NUMBER 1 AND NUMBER 2, WE SEE THAT PARTICULAR EFFORT EXPANDING ONE CAN ALSO SAY HOWEVER CYNICALLY THAT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT THE PRESIDENT MIGHT ALSO THINK THAT DISTRACTING ATTENTION AWAY FROM IMPEACHMENT TRIAL THAT HE'S ABOUT TO UNDERGO IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS MIGHT BE A REASON TO CONTINUE UP THE ESCALATORY LETTER

I HOPE THAT IS NOT TRUE BUT I'M SURE SOME PEOPLE WILL SUGGEST THAT LAST BUT NOT LEAST, MANY PEOPLE ARGUE THAT THIS IS A CRISIS OF THE PRESIDENT'S CREATION BEGINNING WITH THE ENDING OF THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL WHICH HAD PUT US IN A POSITION WHERE AT LEAST THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPON PROGRAM WAS CONSTRAINED AND HOPEFULLY WOULD ALLOW US TO SEEK SOME KIND OF MODUS OPERANDI ON OTHER ISSUES AND ALONG THAT WAY THAT HAS MOVED FROM THAT TO MAXIMUM PRESSURE CAMPAIGN TO THE SERIES OF EVENTS YOU AND I ARE DISCUSSING AS WE HAVE MOVED SLOWLY BUT STEADILY ON AN EVER INCREASING ESCALATORY LETTER WITH IRAN >> ABSOLUTELY SO I WANT TO BRING IN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR ZEKE MILLER, WHO IS IN WASHINGTON HE IS A WHITE HOUSE REPORTER FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WHAT IS THE LATEST YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW? >> WE HAVEN'T RECEIVED ANY NEW INFORMATION FROM THE WHITE HOUSE IN THE INITIAL STATEMENT FROM STEPHANIE GRISHAM BUT WE KNOW SENIOR OFFICIALS INCLUDING SECRETARY OF STATE AND DEFENSE AND CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS ARRIVED IN THE LAST FEW MINUTES PRESUMABLY TO CONTINUE MONITORING THE SITUATION FROM HERE WITH THE PRESIDENT WE HAVE NOT HEARD DIRECTLY FROM THE PRESIDENT SINCE TWO PLUS HOURS NOW SINCE THE APPARENT BALLISTIC MISSILE ATTACK WE HAVE HEARD FROM THE PENTAGON BUT NOT THE PRESIDENT >> AND IS THERE ANY NEW INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT DAMAGE HAS COME OUT OF BOTH OF THESE ATTACKS? I KNOW WE ARE WAITING ON THAT REPORTEDLY, THE ASSESSMENTS ARE TAKING PLACE, DO YOU KNOW WHEN WE ARE LIKELY TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THOSE ASSESSMENTS? >> WE DO NOT JUST YET, PRESUMABLY THAT IS PART OF ONGOING COMMUNICATIONS ALSO WAITING TO SEE IF THAT INITIAL ROUND OF MISSILE FIRE WAS IT, OR POTENTIALLY MORE TO COME SO DARK IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD, BY THE TIME THE SUN RISES WE WILL AGAIN GET A GREATER SENSE OF WHAT, IN FACT, HAPPENED OVERNIGHT AND WHAT'S TO COME AFTERWARDS

>> JEFFREY, IN TERMS OF ASSESSING THE DAMAGE OF THESE — I'M SORRY, ZEKE, IN TERMS OF ASSESSING THE DAMAGE, HOW CRUCIAL IS THAT INFORMATION TO DETERMINING NEXT STEPS? >> THAT WILL CERTAINLY BE CRUCIAL FOR THE US OBVIOUSLY, THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID AND US OFFICIALS SAID THEY ARE EXPECTING SOME SORT OF RESPONSE FROM IRAN

THE QUESTION WAS HOW BIG AND HOW ESCALATORY IT WOULD BE THAT WOULD DETERMINE THE NATURE OF, EXPECTED US RESPONSE IF THERE WERE TO BE SOME SORT OF SECOND ROUND OF STRIKES OR LARGER THAN THIS OR SUBSTANTIAL LOSS OF LIFE, THERE COULD BE SIGNIFICANT ESCALATORY AND GREATER U

S RESPONSE, THE ATTACK ON QASSEM SOLEIMANI LAST WEEK WAS IN RETALIATION FOR A NUMBER OF MISSILE STRIKES AT US BASES INCLUDING ONE THAT KILLED AN AMERICAN CONTRACTOR A WEEK AND A HALF AGO SO IF THERE WAS TO BE LOSS OF LIFE HERE, AS A RESULT OF THE STRIKE, YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE SOMETHING FROM THE PRESIDENT AND POTENTIALLY A MILITARY RESPONSE IN RETALIATION

>> AND, BEHNAM, OBVIOUSLY, THE WHITE HOUSE IS STILL TRYING TO ASSESS THE DAMAGE, AND WILL COME UP WITH SOME SORT OF RETALIATORY PLAN WHAT WOULD — WE KNOW NOW THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID CROSSING A LINE WOULD BE AMERICAN DEATHS SO WE DON'T KNOW IF THERE WERE ANY AMERICAN DEBTS AS A RESULT OF EITHER OF THESE ATTACKS WHAT WOULD BE AN IRANIAN RED LINE? THERE IS GOING TO BE SOME SORT OF ATTACK, SOME SORT OF RETALIATION BY THE US AGAINST IRAN

WHAT WOULD BE A RED LINE ON THEIR SIDE TO ESCALATE EVEN FURTHER? >> IT DEPENDS VERY MUCH ON WHAT IS HIT BY THE ADMINISTRATION I THINK IT'S HIGHLY LIKELY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO HAVE SOME KIND OF MILITARY RESPONSE IT WOULD BE INTERESTING BECAUSE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TWITTER FEED IS SAYING THEY'RE WORKING OUT A BATTLE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT IF THERE ARE IRAQIS KILLED BECAUSE THE US

WHEN IT'S IN IRAQ IS CO-LOCATED ON IRAQI BASES AS PART OF ITS COALITION, IF THERE ARE IRAQI CASUALTIES ONLY AND NO AMERICAN CASUALTIES IT WOULD BE INTERESTING IF THE US TOOK THAT AS A STEP DOWN THE LADDER, AND DID NOT RESPOND AGAINST IRAN ON IRANIAN TERRITORY OR IF THEY CHOSE TO RESPOND TO IRANIAN ASSETS AND INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY I FEEL LIKE IF THERE'S A STRIKE ON IRANIAN TERRITORY, THE IRANIANS WOULD ESCALATE FURTHER THERE IS A CLAIM, A THREAT BY THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS THAT IF A COUNTRY HOUSING THE ENTITY THAT LAUNCHES THE ATTACK, IF THERE IS A COUNTRY THAT HOUSES THE ATTACK IS INVOLVED THEN IRAN WOULD RETALIATE AGAINST THE INTEREST OF THAT COUNTRY AT THAT WELL

>> I WANT TO POINT OUT WE ARE ROLLING SOME FOOTAGE FROM DECEMBER OF 2018, THE PRESIDENT WAS ACTUALLY THERE AT THE AL ASAD AIRBASE ZEKE, WHAT WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A STRIKE THERE, DOES IT, IS IT MORE SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT WAS THERE NOT TOO LONG AGO? I GUESS LAST YEAR? >> IT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST US FACILITIES IN THE REGION SIGNIFICANT TO ITS INVOLVEMENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE BUT ALSO TRAINING AND BOLSTERING THE IRAQI MILITARY SO IRAN HAS BEEN TRYING TO DIMINISH THE U

S TROOP PRESENCE IN THE REGION UNDER AMERICAN INFLUENCE AS PART OF ITS BROADER REGIONAL EFFORTS, MAKING IT NOT A SURPRISING TARGET FROM THAT STANDPOINT BUT OBVIOUSLY, THE SYMBOLIC FACTOR THAT THE PRESIDENT, THE BASE THE PRESIDENT VISITED OVER CHRISTMAS IN 2018 AND ALSO I WAS THERE WHEN VICE PRESIDENT PENCE SIX WEEKS AGO RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING, THERE AND ERBIL, SO THESE ARE MAJOR US FACILITIES WHICH IS WHY YOU SEE SENIOR OFFICIALS GOING THERE OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO

>> AND WHY I GUESS WHEN WE HEARD FROM JEFFREY MCCAUSLAND, HE WAS SURPRISED AT THE STRENGTH OF HIS ATTACKS OR SORT OF THE ESCALATION OF THESE ATTACKS IT WAS MORE THAN HE HAD EXPECTED BEHNAM, ARE YOU ALSO SURPRISED? >> A LITTLE BIT THE IRANIAN INTENT WHEN THEY HAVE LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILES DURING PEACETIME FROM THEIR OWN TERRITORY, THEY'VE DONE IT AGAINST A NON-STATE ACTOR AGAINST TWICE, YOU KNOW, ISIS AND SYRIA AND ONCE AGAINST KURDISH GROUP IN NORTHERN IRAQ

NEITHER TIME THEY ASKED THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR PERMISSION THEY'VE DONE IT BUT THEY'VE NEVER STRUCK ANOTHER STATE OPERATING IN ANOTHER STATE DURING PEACETIME SO THIS WOULD BE FUNDAMENTALLY A DIFFERENT SHIFT MOREOVER THIS IS BALLISTIC MISSILES NOT ROCKETS OR MORTARS SO THIS IS ACTUALLY A WEAPON OF WAR THIS IS A TOOL DESIGNED TO KILL AMERICANS AND SEND A POLITICAL MESSAGE THAT YOU SHOULDN'T TRY TO RESPOND TO IRAN AND SO I THINK THIS IS THE IRANIANS WILLING TO TELEGRAPH THAT THIS CAME FROM OUR TERRITORY, WE ARE RESPONDING TO THIS DEVELOPMENT

AND PART OF WHAT MAY BE FEEDING THIS DESIRE TO PUBLICIZE IS THAT THEY THINK THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MAY NOT ESCALATE, OR THAT THEY THINK THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO GAIN AT HOME ON THE HOME FRONT AND TO FURTHER WORK TOWARDS THAT RALLY AROUND THE FLAG EFFECT WE TALKED ABOUT >> AND QUICKLY, WHAT HAS IRAQ'S RESPONSE BEEN SO FAR? HAVE WE HEARD ANYTHING FROM THE GOVERNMENT? >> I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYTHING BUT AS HAS OFTEN BEEN THE CASE IRAQ IS STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE IT IRAQ IS CAUGHT BETWEEN COMPETITION FOR BAGHDAD, HEADS AND MINDS, BECAUSE OF THIS ZERO- SUM COMPETITION BETWEEN AMERICA AND IRAN THAT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IT'S GOING AWAY ANYTIME SOON

IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE REGARDLESS OF HOW THE ADMINISTRATION RESPONSE TO THE STRIKE >> AND IS IRAQ LIKELY TO RESPOND IF IRAQIS ARE KILLED? >> I DON'T THINK SO I THINK THEY MAY WRITE THAT OFF AS COLLATERAL DAMAGE FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD THE IRANIANS OF COURSE MAY SAY THIS IS BECAUSE YOU SUBMITTED YOUR COUNTRY BEING USED AS A BASE AGAINST US BUT I DON'T THINK IRAQIS WHO ARE PRO-IRAN IN THAT COUNTRY AND THAT IS A LOT OF THE POLITICAL CLASS BUT NOT ALL OF IT, WOULD BE ABLE TO PUBLICIZE THAT >> RIGHT

I'D LIKE TO BRING IN TARA COBB, A NATIONAL MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT AT McCLATCHY THANK YOU SO MUCH ON THE OPERATIONS FRONT, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR? >> SO THREE SITES, AL ASAD, ERBIL AND TAJI HAVE BEEN TARGETED I THINK YOU WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF AL ASAD, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSCORE HOW IMPORTANT ERBIL IS TO US

BECAUSE IT'S NOT ONLY WHERE IT HAS BEEN THE FOCUS, NORTHERN IRAQ, PARTNER TRAINING BUT ALSO A MAJOR POINT OF SUPPLY AND COMMUNICATION TO US FORCES SERVING IN SYRIA SO THAT BASE HAS DUAL IMPORTANCE I THINK EVERYBODY RIGHT NOW IS WAITING TO SEE WHAT THE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT IS, AND TO SEE ABOUT CASUALTIES THERE, SOME EARLY REPORTS HAVE BEEN IRAQI CASUALTIES, NO REPORT SO FAR ON U

S CASUALTIES BUT AT THAT POINT, I THINK AS YOUR PREVIOUS GUEST WAS SAYING ADDITIONAL AMERICAN CASUALTIES IS A RED LINE FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION AND COULD SEE ANOTHER ESCALATION >> WE DON'T YET KNOW HOW IRAQI CASUALTIES WOULD FACTOR IN TO THAT CALCULATION

BUT LOOKING FORWARD, WHERE DOES THE US RESPONSE GO FROM HERE, OBVIOUSLY, AS YOU SAID THE ASSESSMENT IS STILL BEING MADE BUT ONCE THAT ASSESSMENT IS MADE, HOW QUICKLY IS THE US LIKELY TO RESPOND, DO YOU THINK WE COULD SEE SOME RESPONSE TONIGHT? >> I THINK THAT THEY WOULD BE VERY CAUTIOUS IN RESPONSE AND CALCULATED RESPONSE TO MAKE SURE THAT IT'S UNCALCULATED MOVE TO DRIVE EVERYBODY INTO AN UNINTENDED WAR

THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF ASSETS THROUGHOUT THE REGION BETWEEN THE USS BATAAN WITH 2200 MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCES, THE NEW B- 52S ON GARCIA THAT CAN STRIKE IRAN, THOUSANDS OF ADDITIONAL GROUND FORCES THAT HAVE BEEN MOVED INTO THE REGION SO THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE US, AND WE TONIGHT JUST AS THESE ATTACKS ARE HAPPENING, OUR McCLATCHY PAPER "THE SACRAMENTO BEE" WAS ABLE TO BREAK AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE WIDOW OF THE US CONTRACTOR THAT WAS KILLED IN KIRKUK ON DECEMBER 27 AND JUST TO REMIND EVERYONE IT WAS >> THEY HAD BOTH COME TO THE U

S IN 2011 LIVE IN A SINGLE BEDROOM APARTMENT IN SACRAMENTO AND OUR SACRAMENTO REPORTERS WERE ABLE TO WALK THE NEIGHBORHOOD, TALK TO THEM AND HAD THIS HEARTBREAKING INTERVIEW WITH THE WIDOW, LEARNING WHAT'S NEXT FOR HER

AND SHE LITERALLY WAS JUST SAYING DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO IRAQ, AND NO, WHAT IS THERE LEFT FOR US? >> THAT IS HEARTBREAKING THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT >>> CBS NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER OLIVIA GAZIS JOINS ME ON THE PHONE WHAT IS THE LATEST YOU CAN TELL US? >> I CAN TELL YOU THAT OUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES HAVE, OF COURSE, BEEN TRACKING ANY AND ALL RETALIATORY OPTIONS THAT IRAN WAS EXPECTED TO PURSUE

AND EVERYBODY HAD BEEN ON FULL ALERT AND PRIORITIZING FORCED DECORATION IN THE REGION A STRIKE OF THIS FORCE INVOLVES VEHICLES AND PERSONNEL BEING ABLE TO MOVE AROUND AND PREPARE SO WE HAD VISIBILITY INTO THE FACT THAT IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN I'M LOOKING AT AN ASSESSMENT OF IRAN'S MILITARY CAPABILITY PUT OUT BY THE DEFENSE AGENCY AND IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT IRAN IS KNOWN TO HAVE THE LARGEST AND MOST DIVERSE BALLISTIC MISSILE ARSENAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST

IT HAS THIS BIG INVENTORY, CLOSE RANGE, SHORT RANGE, MEDIUM RANGE AND WE DON'T KNOW, I DON'T THINK, WHAT KINDS OF MISSILES WERE USED IN THIS ATTACK WE'LL EXPECT TO GET MORE DETAILS ON THAT LATER IT'S ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IRAN — AMONG THE MENU OF OPTIONS THAT THE IRANIANS WERE EXPECTED TO PURSUE WERE THESE REGIONAL ATTACKS ON THE MILITARY AND US

DIPLOMATIC INTERESTS WE DID ANTICIPATE THIS IT IS NOTABLE THAT THESE WERE LAUNCHED FROM THE MAINLAND, IRAN, AS THE PENTAGON EARLIER CONFIRMED WE'LL SEE IF THIS IS THE FIRST STEP OF MANY RETALIATORY RESPONSES BUT IT IS A NOTABLE FIRST STEP THAT THE IRANIANS HAVE TAKEN HERE

>> IT IS QUITE A DISTANCE FROM THE AIRBASE AND THE IRANIAN BORDER WERE THESE MISSILES NOT DETECTED PRIOR TO IMPACT? >> I'M NOT SURE THAT WE KNOW EXACTLY THAT INFORMATION OF YET BUT SOME OF THESE MISSILES THAT THE IRANIANS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE CAN TRAVEL UP TO 2,000 KILOMETERS THEY CAN MAKE IT AS FAR AS ISRAEL, OF COURSE, AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SO IT'S NOT SORT OF OUT OF THE — IT'S NOT OUT OF THE RANGE OF POSSIBILITY THAT THEY HAVE ARTILLERY THAT WILL MAKE THIS — COVER THIS DISTANCE

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH PLEASE STAND BY, IF YOU WILL I WANT TO BRING IN SORAVI GRAMMAR WE'RE STILL ASSESSING DAMAGE AND THERE WILL BE A MILITARY RESPONSE FORTHWITH

WHAT IS THE DIPLOMATIC RESPONSE? >> HI, TANYA, THANKS WELL, RIGHT NOW OBVIOUSLY STITS STILL IN THE INITIAL AFTERMATH REPORTEDLY, TRUMP'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, INCLUDING SECRETARY POMPEO IS MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE BUT EARLIER TODAY, POMPEO SPOKE TO REPORTERS AND SAID THAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WAS PREPARED TO RESPOND TO RETALIATION IN ANY FORM FROM IRAN SAYING IN THE EVENT THE IRANIANS MAKE ANOTHER BAD CHOICE, THE PRESIDENT WILL RESPOND IN A WAY THAT HE DID LAST WEEK, WHICH WAS DECISIVE, SERIOUS, AND MESSAGED

I THINK WHAT WE'RE GONNA SEE RIGHT NOW IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH IS THE TEAM COMING TOGETHER, CONSULTING WITH ALLIES AND CHARTING A PATH FORWARD KEEPING IN MIND THAT A LOT OF THE ALLIES AND THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ ARE INCREDIBLY AFRAID OF HOW THIS COULD ESCALATE AND POTENTIALLY STUMBLE INTO A BROADER CONFLICT BETWEEN TEHERAN AND WASHINGTON >> GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT AMERICAN ALLIES MUST BE THINKING RIGHT NOW WE DO KNOW THAT SOME AMERICAN ALLIES WERE WITHDRAWING THEIR TROOPS FROM IRAQ AS A RESULT OF THE ATTACK ON GENERAL SOLEIMANI WHAT MUST THEY BE THINKING AT THIS POINT? >> THE DIPLOMATS I'VE BEEN TALKING TO, EVERYONE AGREES THAT IRAN THIS IS DESTABILIZING FORCE IN THE REGION

BUT THEY'RE REALLY NERVOUS RIGHT NOW WE SAW NATO WITHDRAW ITS MILITARY TRAINING MISSION IN IRAQ WE'VE SEEN ALLIES LIKE BRITAIN AND CANADA EVEN PREPARE TO WITHDRAW TROOPS AND REACHING OUT TO THE IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRUSSELS TO TRY TO FIND AN OFF-RAMP TO THIS ESCALATION >> AND HOW IS I RACK RESPONDING? HAS THERE BEEN ANY RESPONSE FROM THE GOVERNMENT? HOW THIS IS PLAYING OUT ON IRAQI NEWS STATIONS? >> WELL, RIGHT NOW THERE HASN'T BEEN

I THINK IT'S TOO SOON TO TELL WHAT THE OFFICIAL IRAQI RESPONSE WILL BE OF BUT FROM SOME OF THE EXPERTS AND IRAQI OFFICIALS I'VE SPOKEN TO, THIS JUST CONFIRMS A LOT OF THEIR WORST FEARS THAT IRAQ IS GONNA BE CAUGHT IN THE CROSSOVER OF THIS ESCALATING TENSION AND CONFLICT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND TEHERAN I CAN'T DIRECTLY CONFIRM BUT THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF IRAQI CASUALTIES ALREADY IN THE INITIAL AFTERMAH THE US IS STILL DOING ITS DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS AND THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ANY REPORTS YET OF ANY CASUALTIES OF U

S SERVICE MEMBERS >> RIGHT AND IS IRAQ LIKELY TO RESPOND TO THESE CASUALTIES? WHO ARE THEY LIKELY TO BLAME FOR THEM? >> IT'S DIFFICULT TO SAY I THINK THE US/IRAQI RELATIONSHIP HAS REALLY DETERIORATED QUICKLY SINCE THE KILLING OF SOLEIMANI

WE'VE SEEN THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT CALL FOR THE COMPULSION OF US TROOPS AND TRUMP THREATENING SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ IF IT DOES SO WHICH IS REALLY UNPRECEDENTED AND KEEP IN MIND, THE GOVERNMENT AMID ALL THESE PROTESTS IS IN A PRECARIOUS POSITION WITH AN ACTING PRIME MINISTER

SO IT'S IN A REALLY DIFFICULT POSITION BUT I'M NOT SURE IT HAS MUCH LEVERAGE TO RESPOND ON THE IRAQI OR US SIDE SO FAR >> AND I WANT TO BRING IN BENNAM ONCE AGAIN I'M STILL NOT CLEAR ON WHAT EXACTLY THE END GAME IS HERE FOR IRAN

>> WELL, I THINK IRAN WANTS TO SAY THAT THEY WON'T TAKE A STRIKE THAT KILLED THEIR MOST IMPORTANT MILITARY FIGURE IN THE PAST 40 YEARS LYING DOWN AND MOREOVER, THEY DON'T WANT TO CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT IRAN ABSORBS RETALIATION, MUCH LIKE THE US HAD ABSORBED RETALIATION FROM MAY, 2019 >> THAT'S STILL A TEMPORARY POSITIONING, POSTURING

WHAT IS THEIR ULTIMATE END GOAL IN TERMS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US? >> WELL, THE RELATIONSHIP IS THEY'LL CONTINUE TO HAVE A WAR WITH THE US IRAN IN MANY WAYS HAS BEEN ON WAR FOOTING WITH WASHINGTON SINCE 1979, SINCE THE DIVORCE OF TWO FRIENDS DURING THE COLD WAR BITTER, TWO NOW VERY BITTER ENEMIES BUT THE ASSUMPTION THAT IRAN WANTED TO SEND THE SIGNAL IS DRIVEN BY SOMETHING LARGER

AND IT'S DRIVEN BY IRAN SAYING TO AMERICA THAT WHEN YOU THREATEN, WE'RE THREATENED THERE'S A PERSIAN SAYING, A MISSILE AGAINST A MISSILE IRAN IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH ITS OWN DETERRENTS THE TRUMP TEAM IS TRYING TO LIMIT IRAN'S ACTION IN THE REGION THIS IS IRAN SAYING NO, WE HAVE A FREEHAND IN THE REGION, AND THEY'RE CHOOSING THE MISSILES GIVEN THE CAPABILITIES THAT THEY HAVE TO RESPOND TO THAT

SO IT'S A MISSILE FOR A MISSILE A THREAT FOR A THREAT EVEN IN 2012, WHEN THERE WASN'T ANY OF THIS GOING ON, IT WAS OUTSIDE OF THE INTERIM NUCLEAR DEAL, IT'S BEEN A THREAT AGAINST A THREAT AND IRAN LAUNCHED A COUPLE OF FOREIGN TERRORIST CAMPAIGNS IN RESPONSE TO THE OIL SANCTIONS IRAN DOES RESPOND WITH A DIFFERENT THREAT, BUT ALWAYS TRYING TO EQUALIZE

ALWAYS TRYING TO CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY WILL NOT LET ONE LINGER >> HOW DOES THAT SERVE THE COUNTRY ULTIMATELY, ECONOMICALLY? >> ECONOMICALLY, IRAN IS STILL PLAYING A MEDIUM TERM GAME THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR FOR WASHINGTON YOU CAN LOOK AT THE DOW PRICE RIGHT NOW IRAN IS TRYING TO PRESSURE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, LET'S BE CLEAR

MAXIMUM PRESSURE IN RECORD TIME ECONOMIC CARTERS ALONE, ON ALL THESE THINGS, THE US HAD ACCOMPLISHED ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN UNILATERALLY, NOT EVEN MULTILATERALLY THE END IS TO UPEND THE SANCTIONS STRATEGY

AND THE ONLY WAY IT SEEMS THE SANCTIONS STRATEGY WILL BE UPENDED IS IF THERE'S A DIFFERENT PERSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE >> RIGHT ALL RIGHT SO HUNTER WALKER JOINS US NOW ON THE PHONE HE'S A WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR YAHOO NEWS

I KNOW YOU'VE BEEN REACHING OUT TO THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WHAT IS THE PENTAGON SAYING? >> WELL, RIGHT NOW, AS OF A FEW MINUTES AGO, WE DID NOT HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT CASUALTIES BUT THEY DID CONFIRM THAT MORE THAN A DOZEN BALLISTICIMISMS WERE LAUNCHED AT TWO BASES IN IRAQ LAUNCHED FROM IRAN ONE OF THE BASES AL ASSAD, IS WHERE PRESIDENT TRUMP VISITED LAST YEAR

THAT'S PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING WE'RE HEARING IT'S A FAST-MOVING SITUATION BUT THEY CONFIRMED THERE WAS A STRIKE, AND WE DO NOT HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT CASUALTIES >> AND EVERYBODY IS CONVENED AT THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW? >> THEIR PRESS SECRETARY, STEPHANIE GRIFFIN, TOLD ME THAT THE PRESS HAD BEEN BRIEFED AND SHE SAID SHE'S MONITORING THE SITUATION

>> RIGHT BUT AT THIS POINT, NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT AMERICAN CASUALTIES AND THE DAMAGE IS STILL BEING ASSESSED, IS THAT CORRECT THAT? >> EXACTLY AS OF ABOUT AN HOUR AGO, IS THAT IS VERSUS THEY WERE SAYING THAT THEY'RE STILL FETING BATTLE DAMAGE REPORTS I THINK THE MAIN QUESTION ON EVERYBODY'S MIND NOW IS WHAT COMES NEXT WE SAW THE PRESIDENT IN THE OVAL OFFICE TODAY DURING HIS MEETING WITH THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER

AND HE BACKED OFF FROM HIS EARLIER THREAT THIS WEEKEND TO TARGET IRANIAN CULTURAL SITES THAT'S ACTUALLY AGAINST INTERNATIONAL MILITARY LAW BUT HE DID SAY IF IRAN DOES ANYTHING TO HIT AMERICAN CITIZENS OR AMERICAN ASSETS THAT WE WOULD RESPOND, YOU KNOW HE SAID, QUOTE, "UN, QUOTE, "VERY STRONGLY THE QUESTION IS SORT OF WHEN DOES THIS CHAIN OF RETALIATION STOP, AND DOES IT STOP AT ALL? >> EXACTLY WHERE DOES IT LEAD? BENHAM, I

TO BRING YOU IN IF YOU'RE STILL THERE IS THERE ANY SPECULATION ABOUT THE EXACT TYPE OF MISSILES THAT IRAN USED? >> THERE IS NO OFFICIAL REPORT FROM IRANIAN FORCES OR FROM WASHINGTON THROUGH THE DOD YET BUT IT'S PAST ITS PROLOGUE HERE IRAN HAS LAUNCHED SHORTAGE BALLISTIC MISSILES FROM ITS TERRITORY IN SYRIA SOME OF THEM CAN CARRY UNDER 500 KILOS AND GO UP TO 700 KILOMETERS

SO DEPENDS ON THIS THESE ARE ROGUE MOBILE MISSILES THEY'RE CARRIED TOWARD THE BORDER ON PROPERTY ERECTOR LAUNCHERS WAS THIS UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS, FROM A SILO, FROM THE PEL'S? AND THE TYPE OF MISSILE WILL MATTER PAUSE THIS WILL MEAN FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT IRAN USED A DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED SYSTEM FROM SUCH A HIGH-RISK, HIGH PUBLICITY ATTACK

>> RIGHT AND ARE WE LIKELY TO SEE ANY RESPONSE TONIGHT? OR IS THE ADMINISTRATION GONNA SLEEP ON IT? WE DO KNOW SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEII SO CURRENTLY AT THE WHITE HOUSE >> I THINK THERE'S AN UNCONFIRMED REPORT THE PRESIDENT MAY SPEAK I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S GONNA BE CONFIRMED OR NOT I SAW THAT AROUND SOMEWHERE ONLINE

IT WOULD SIMPLY MAKE SENSE TO ADDRESS THE NATION NOW ESPECIALLY IF THERE ARE NO CASUALTIES ON THE AMERICAN SIDE WE'RE STILL PUBLICLY WAIT FIGURE FOR THAT TO TRICKLE ON DOWN IF THERE ARE NO CASUALTIES, THEN I THINK THERE THERE WOULD BE A RESPONSE IN A MUCH SHORTER TIMEFRAME >> SO WHAT WOULD IRAN'S OFF- RAMP BE HERE IF THEY DECIDED THAT THE INCREASED ESCALATION IS NOT WORKING FOR THEM? HOW COULD THEY THEY PULL OUT OF THIS AND SAVE FACE? >> I THINK IT'S GONNA BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE IRANIANS TO SAVE FACE IF THE ADMINISTRATION RESPONDS ON IRANIAN TERRITORY

IF IT'S ON IRANIAN TERRITORY, THERE'S ALMOST CERTAINLY GOING TO BE SOME SORT OF ACTION BY IRAN IF IT'S ELSEWHERE, OFFSHORE, THE IRANIANS COULD ABSORB THAT THEY MAY BE HOPING THERE ISN'T EVEN THAT IN THAT WASHINGTON ABSORBS THIS ATTACK AGAINST THE BASE IN WESTERN IRAQ >> RIGHT AND RIGHT NOW I THINK THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT VIDEO — MY PRIORS CAN CLARIFY

THESE ARE MISSILES FROM IRANIAN STATE TV THEY WERE LAUNCHED FROM TEHERAN OF COURSE WE KNOW THAT THIS HAS BEEN REPORTED ALL AFTERNOON FROM IRANIAN STATE TV DO WE KNOW WHAT THE STORY IS FROM THE IRANIAN SIDE? HOW ARE THEY SPINNING THIS ATTACK? >> WELL, SPIN IS DEFINITELY A VERY INTERESTING WORRIED THE FORMER SECRETARY OF IRAN'S PRENATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, HE WAS THE NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR AT THE END OF THE AJAD ERA

VERY ZEALOUS HE TWEETED, I BELIEVE, A PICTURE OF THE IRANIAN FLAG IF YOU REMEMBER WHEN SOLEIMANI WAS STRUCK BY THE DRONE, TRUMP TWEETED A PICTURE OF THE AMERICAN FLAG AND SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION TWEETED THE AMERICAN FLAG SO THIS IS THE IRANIANS AGAIN TRYING TO PLAY THE MEDIA GAME, THE NARRATIVE GAME

THEY ARE VERY COGNIZANT OF HOW THIS IS BEING FRAMED ABROAD THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THAT THE WEST IS SURPRISED THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THIS DOES NOT FIT WITH THE TRADITIONAL IRANIAN RESPONSE THERE'S EVEN AN UNCONFIRMED VIDEO THAT I SAW FROM ANOTHER MILITARY WATCHER ON TWITTER THAT HAD A PICTURE OF SOLEIMANI IN THE BOOTH IN THE AREA WHERE THE MISSILES WERE LAUNCHED CLEARLY SYMBOLIZING THAT THIS WAS IN RESPONSE TO THE KILLING OF SOLEIMANI

THIS IS ONE LARGE, CUSTODY COSTLY MOVE BY IRANIANS >> ABSOLUTELY I WANT TO BRING OLIVIA BACK IN POMPEO AND O'BRIAN, ESPER, ARE ALL MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW WHAT DO WE KNOW? >> WE KNOW THAT THEY ARE IN THE SITUATION ROOM

LIKELY REVIEWING THE INTELLIGENCE THAT IS COMING IN AND DISCUSSING WHAT THE US DOES IN RESPONSE THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN THAT DEESCALATION IS THE GOAL THE PRESIDENT ALSO SAID EARLIER TODAY THAT THE UNITED STATES WAS TOTALLY PREPARED TO RESPOND TO IRAQ

I THINK IT'S WORTH NOTING THAT THE IRANIANS FULLY RECOGNIZE THEY CAN'T COMPETE WITH THE US IN A CONVENTIONAL SORT OF BATTLE AND SO THIS IS THE REASON THAT DELAY HAVE HISTORICALLY PRIORITIZED THESE CAPABILITIES THAT ARE ASYMMETRICAL CYBER WARFARE, PROXY WARFARE

SO IT MAY BE THAT THEY HAVE DECIDED THEY HAVE EXACTED ENOUGH OF A TOLL HERE, AND WOULD STOP IF THE UNITED STATES STOPPED TOO >> RIGHT >> THAT WOULD OF COURSE DEPEND ON WHETHER THERE ARE ANY AMERICAN CASUALTIES, WHICH THE PRESIDENT PREVIOUSLY SAID WAS A RED LINE FOR THE UNITED STATES AND HE HAS THREATENED ANY OTHER MEASURES IN THESE WAR OF WORDS THAT ENSUED IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE STRIKE ON SOLEIMANI IT WILL BE AN OUTGROWTH TODAY OF WHAT THEY DECIDE IN THE SITUATION ROOM

>> ABSOLUTELY THANKS SO MUCH, OLIVIA LET'S BRING IN DAVE PIERCE NOW, A RETIRED NAVY SEAL WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE CHOICE OF RETALIATIONS ON THE PART OF THE IRANIANS? THEY COULD HAVE DONE A CYBER ATTACK, THEY COULD HAVE TRIED TO TARGET A DOMESTIC SOFT TARGET INSTEAD THEY WENT FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE FLASHY

AND SOMETHING FAIRLY AGGRESSIVE WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU? >> I THINK FOR ONE, YOU'RE RIGHT THAT IT IS FLASHY SO THEY CAN SHOW IT ON STATE TV BUT I WOULD ALSO CAUTION THAT WE DON'T KNOW IF IT'S DONE YET >> RIGHT >> I WOULD STILL SAY THAT ISRAEL COULD BE TARGETED BY HEZBOLLAH, THE PROXY THAT IRAN HAS THERE

SAUDI ARABIA IS CERTAINLY A RIPE TARGET FOR IRAN AS WELL AND YOU CAN SEE SOME THINGS IN YEMEN OR THE GULF WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GONNA GO WE DON'T FINISH THEY'RE GONNA USE SOME OF THEIR ASYMMETRICAL CAPABILITIES HOPEFULLY THIS IS THE ONLY SALVO THAT THEY HAVE, AND THEY WANT TO MAKE A VERY PUBLIC STATEMENT TO THEIR PEOPLE

THAT WE'RE GETTING REVENGE THAT'S ON THEIR SIDE >> RIGHT AND WE'RE HOPING, WE ASSUME, THAT THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS >> I THINK THAT'S WHAT IRAN IS HOPING

I THINK THAT THAT WOULD BE A HUGE MISCALCULATION I JUST CAN'T SEE THE PRESIDENT AFTER HIS SPEECH AND DRAWING THE RED LINE AT US CASUALTIES OR US

ASSETS COMING UNDER TARGETING >> LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND IT'S ONE THING IF THERE ARE SOME US CASUALTIES HERE, BUT WHAT IF IT TURNS OUT THAT THERE ARE NOT? >> THAT'LL BE INTERESTING ON HOW HE'S GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT

I STILL THINK, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE US JOINT US/IRAQI BASES SO THERE'S A LOT OF EQUIPMENT AND I THINK YOU ARE GONNA SEE, IF I HAD TO GUESS, EXACTLY WHAT THE PRESIDENT CALLED FOR

YOU'RE GONNA SEE A COMPLETELY DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE FROM OUR SIDE I THINK WHAT HE'S LIKELY LOOKING AT GIVING THEM IS AN OVERWHELMING RESPONSE >> WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE? >> THAT WOULD LOOK LIKE COMPLETELY WIPING OUT THEIR ABILITY TO PROJECT POWER THAT MEANS BALLISTIC MISSILE TARGETS SO THEY CAN'T LAUNCH ANYMORE NAVAL TARGETS

ANY POSSIBLE NUCLEAR TARGETS THAT THEY'RE DEVELOPING IT COULD BE POSSIBLE FORCED LOCATIONS OUTSIDE OF IRAN THAT ARE ASYMMETRICAL THINGS, SYRIA, BASES THERE I THINK IT COULD BE A LARGE ARAY OF ALL OF THE ABOVE >> AND WOULDN'T THAT RESULT — >> ESPECIALLY IF THERE'S CASUALTIES >> WOULDN'T THAT RESULT IN JUST MORE OF A MILITARY COMMITMENT TO THE REGION THAN THIS ADMINISTRATION REALLY WANTS? HAS THE STOMACH FOR? >> I DON'T THINK — IF YOU HAVE THAT, IF YOU ACTUALLY HAVE THAT OVERWHELMING RESPONSE, IT COMPLETELY ELIMINATES IRAN'S ABILITY TO DO ANYTHING

>> ARE YOU TALKING WITH SORT OF SHOCK AND AWE? >> YEAH, WE COULD DEGRADE THEIR CAPABILITY TO THE POINT THAT THEY HAVE NONE IT'S NOT VERSUS IRAN ISN'T LIKE THE UNITED STATES >> RIGHT >> IT'S NOT THAT THAT BIG IT'S NOT RUSSIA OR CHINA

SO YOU COULD CONCEIVABLY TARGET ALL THEIR CAPABILITY TO DO THINGS, IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO >> AND THAT WOULD BE WITHOUT A REGIME CHANGE JUST LEAVING THE GOVERNMENT THERE BUT WIPING OUT THEIR MILITARY >> YEAH, ABSOLUTELY AND THEN SAYING OKAY, LEAVE IT TO THE PEOPLE

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? AND I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE ANOTHER EFFECT AS WELL IF YOU STICK TO MILITARY TARGETS, ESPECIALLY AS THEY FOR THIS IRAN, YOU CAN REALLY, REALLY LIMIT ANY CIVILIAN AND THE PEOPLE AREN'T SUPER HAPPY WITH THE REGIME IN IRAN RIGHT NOW >> NO, THERE'S A LOT OF PROTESTS, YEAH >> SO WHICH WAY DO THEY GO ON THIS? IF THEY SEE — ONE OF THE REASONS THAT THEY HAVE SUCH A PROBLEM WITH THE REGIME, I THINK THERE WAS 1,500 IRANIANS KILLED, 2,000 IMPRISONED

THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING, BUT IF YOU TAKE OUT SOME OF THIS INFRASTRUCTURE THAT IS IRAN'S DOMESTIC INFRASTRUCTURE AS WELL PEOPLE MAY SEE AN OPPORTUNITY TO RISE UP I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT WOULD HAPPEN BUT THE OPPORTUNITY MAY BE THERE I RAN WILL HAVE TO REBUILD SO MUCH

BUT THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROJECT ANY POWER AROUND THE GLOBE AT ALL THAT IS CONCEIVABLE >> THAT'S A PRETTY DRAMATIC PICTURE THAT YOU'VE PAINTED FOR US HUNTER, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF THAT OF THE US

RESPONDING TO THE POINT WHERE IT'S JUST WIPE OUT THE MILITARY? NOT A REGIME CHANGE BUT JUST GETS RID OF THE MILITARY >> I THINK THERE'S TWO DIFFERENT THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT RIGHT NOW WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THE US WOULD RESPOND

AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN AFTERWARD? AND I THINK THE LIKELIHOOD THAT WE WILL RESPOND IS VERY HIGH PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID WE WOULD RESPOND QUOTE UNQUOTE VERY STRONGLY IF ANY AMERICAN ASETS OR PEOPLE WERE TARGETED AND THEY WERE VERY CLEAR AFTER THE SOLEIMANI KILLING THAT THIS WAS GOING TO LEAD TO ESCALATION THEY ATTACKED US, REFERRING TO THE PROTESTS AT THE BAGHDAD EMBASSY WE ATTACKED THEM

THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO RESPOND NOW WEER THIS PATH BUT THE OTHER QUESTION IS WHAT YOU WERE PROPOSING BEFORE WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT WE WOULD TOTALLY WIPE OUT THEIR MILITARY AND THAT THEIR PEOPLE WOULD BE REJOITSING THE AMERICAN LIBERATORS IN THE STREET? AND I HAVE TO SAY, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, I REMEMBER 2003 WHEN PEOPLE WERE MAKING SIMILAR ARGUMENTS ABOUT IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, WHICH WERE MUCH SMALLER COUNTRIES WITH SMALLER MILITARY CAPABILITIES AND IF WE LOOK AT THE LESSONS OF HISTORY, WE ARE RIGHT NOW PLAYING WITH A SITUATION THAT IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE OTHER CONFLICTS WE'VE GOTTEN IN THE MID-EAST

AND THEY HAVE NOT BEEN REMOTELY AS EASY TO EXTRICATE OURSELVES FROM OR END AS A LOT OF PEOPLE PREDICTED AT THE OUTSET SO I DEFINITELY DON'T WANT TO BE SOMEONE PREDICTING THAT THIS IS GUARANTEED TO TO BE SOME KIND OF TREMENDOUS SUCCESS FOR US EVEN THE PEOPLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE ARE AWARE THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION >> RIGHT WIPING OUT THE MILITARY COMPLEX WOULD HAVE REPERCUSSIONS FAR BEYOND JUST GETTING RID OF THEIR WEAPONS

>> ARE YOU RIGHT AS I WAS SAYING, EVEN FORCES CLOSE TO THE PRESIDENT EXPECT FOR TALT HERE 1988 WAS REALLY THE LAST TIME WE HAD THIS KIND OF DIRECT MILITARY CONFRONTATION WITH IRAN IT'S CALLED OPERATION PRAYING MANTIS AND THAT'S WHEN WE STRUCK IN IRANIAN TERRITORIAL WATERS IN RETALIATION FOR THE MINING OF THE PERSIAN GULF AND WE WERE ABLE TO DEESCALATE THE TENSIONS AT THE TIME

AND EARLIER THIS SUMMER, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAD THIS SIMILAR INTAGZ WHERE THE US DRONE WAS STRUCK HE HAD THESE RED LINES IN HIS RHETORIC BY THE HIS OWN ADMISSION, HE DIDN'T WANT TO DO A DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE

POTENTIALLY WE COULD DEESCALATE NOW >> THEY STRUCK BACK AND STRUCK BACK HARD YOU'RE SITTING AT HOME IN IRAN, WATCHING STATE TV, IT LOOKS LIKE A BIG DEAL ON YOUR TELEVISION SET SO COULD THIS BE THE END OF IT? ARE THERE SOBER ENOUGH MINDS IN WASHINGTON THAT COULD SAY LOOK, WE DON'T LIKE IT BUT IF THERE ARE NO AMERICAN CASUALTIES, MAYBE WE LET IT END HERE? ED >> IS THERE ANY DE-CONFLICTION CHANNELS BETWEEN THE U

S AND IRAN NOW? ONE THING, AND I'M SURE YOU BROUGHT THIS UP EARLIER, BUT ONE THING THAT'S SUPER IMPORTANT FOR VIEWERS TO UNDERSTAND IS JUST HOW MAJOR OF A FIGURE CASEM SOLEIMANI WAS QASEM SOLEIMANI WAS TO THE IRANIAN PEOPLE ONE PERSON CLOSE TO THE PRESIDENT SWINGED IT AS BEING EQUIVALENT IF THE IRANIANS HAVE KILLED SCHWARZKOFF WITH ITS STATURE IN THE SOCIETY, IT WAS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, THE VICE PRESIDENT, AND SECRETARY OF STATE ALL ROLLED INTO ONE

>> RIGHT SO THERE DEFINITELY IS AN ELEMENT OF FACE-SAVING FOR THE IRANIANS HERE AND ON ONE OF THE STATE TV NETWORKS, THEY ARE FRAMING THIS ATTACK AS QUOTE UNQUOTE REVENGE >> AND I WOULD SAY THAT'S THE REGIME'S PERSPECTIVE BUT THERE HAVE BEEN MANY ELEMENTS WITHIN IRONTHAT ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE REGIME

YOUNGER PEOPLE LOOKING FOR MORE CIVIL FREEDOMS EVEN BLUE COLLARS OF IRAN HAVE JOINED THESE PROTESTS WHICH WERE LARGELY ABOUT A YEAR AGO OR TWO YEARS AGO MORE OF THE ELITE PROTESTING AND SO I'M JUST CURIOUS HOW MUCH OF THAT STATUTE THAT YOU AFFORD TO SOLEIMANI REALLY WAS UNIVERSAL IN IRAQ >> I WOULD NOT PURPORT TO BE AN EXPERT ON THAT AT ALL

I THINK OBVIOUSLY WE SAY THE GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN RIGHT AT THE TURN OF THE LAST DECADE THERE DEFINITELY IS OPPOSITION TO THE REGIME THERE, WHICH IS — WHICH HAS BEEN PRETTY BRUTAL TO ITS OWN PEOPLE AND PRETTY REPRESSIVE I THINK AS WE LEARNED WHAT SOME OF THE AMERICAN ADVENTURISM THAT WE SAW IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AROUND THE BEGINNING OF THE CENTURY, IT'S JUST REALLY HARD TO PREDICT WHERE THIS STUFF GOES I SHOULD SAY I HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF BREAKING NEWS THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TOLD ME THE PRESIDENT IS NOT PLANNING SPEAK TONIGHT

>> AH >> IT DOES NOT SOUND LIKE WE'RE GOING TO HEAR FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP AT LEAST ON TELEVISION >> OKAY INTERESTING DAVE, I WANT TO GET YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THESE GROUPS THAT YOU SAID WERE — WE DISCUSSED EARLIER, THAT WERE UNHAPPY WITH THE IRANIAN REGIME

HAS THAT DIVISION GONE AWAY WITH THIS UNIFIED WARNING OVER THIS BELOVED GENERAL? >> THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION HOW MUCH DOES — WE KNOW SPEAKING GENERALLY THAT WARS TEND TO UNIFY COUNTRIES AND OVERCOME SOME OTHER INTERNAL DOMESTIC UNHAPPINESS OFTEN COUNTRIES IN THE PAST HAVE USED WARS TO GET OVER DOMESTIC PROBLEMS >> RIGHT >> SO HOW MUCH DID — SOLEIMANI WAS NOT BELOVED BY ALL

HE WAS A LARGE FIGURE THAT CAME FOR, YOU KNOW — GREW UP IN THE POSTREVOLUTION, THE IRAN/IRAQ WAR IS REALLY WHERE HE CAME TO SORT OF COME TO PROMINENCE HE WAS INJURED THERE THEN BEGAN WORKING HIS WAY UP HE'S NOT A REAL ORIGINAL BIG PLAYER IN THE REVOLUTION SO PEOPLE WERE DIVIDED, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF HIS ROLE IN COMING IN TO SQUASH THE STUDENT PROTESTS

SO HE DID PLAY A BIG ROLE IN THAT >> RIGHT >> AND PEOPLE KNEW THAT AND THE UNDERSTANDING — WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO HUNTER, I WOULD NEVER COMPARE SOLEIMANI TO NORMAN SCHWARZKO, IF F ALTERNATE NOT A COMPARISON THERE

THE ATROCITIES THAT HE COMMITTED THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER AND HOW HE'S DONE THINGS ARE PRETTY WELL-DOCUMENTED YOU HAVE THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS THEY'RE NOT ONLY THE ARMY THEY'RE THE GUARDIANS OF THE REVOLUTION IRAN ALSO HAS AN ARMY, AND AN IRANIAN NAVY

THEN THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORE THAT'S THERE TO GUARD THE REVOLUTION >> INTERESTING >> WITHIN THAT SEGMENT, YOU HAVE THE KUDZ FORCE AND THAT IS JERUSALEM THAT'S WHAT SOLEIMANI WAS IN CHARGE OF

THEIR JOB IS TO KS PORT THE REVOLUTION THAT'S WHY HE'S PRIMARILY EXTERNAL AND DOES THINGS IN SYRIA, THAILAND, TRIES TO COORDINATE THINGS IN WASHINGTON DC HIS ROLE IS EXTERNAL ULTIMATELY JUST AS THE NAME IMPLIES, IS TO TAKE OVER JERUSALEM

>> RIGHT >> TAKE IT BACK SO NOW THAT FORMAL STRUCTURE LOOKS ONE WAY, BUT THE REAL STRUCTURE IS HE DID REPORT TO — THE FORCE TO REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE SUPREME LEADER SO THEY WERE CLOSE AND TRUSTED AGENTS TO EACH OTHER AND HE HAD AN OUTDUE AMOUNT OF INFLUENCE

THAT ALSO LEADS TO JEALOUSIES AND THINGS IN THE REGULAR IRANIAN ARMY, OF THE IRGC, AND THE KUDZ FORCE, AND THE FACTIONAL POWER THERE'S A LOT OF FACTORS IN PLAY IN IRAN AT ALL TIME TIMES THE PEOPLE LOOK AT THEM AS PART OF THE PIECES HOLDING THEM BACK AND THEY WATCHED SOLEIMANI SPEND ALL THIS MONEY IN SYRIA, IN YEMEN, ON HEZBOLLAH, IN LEBANON AND THEY'RE IN ECONOMIC STRAITS AND THEY'RE GOING WHAT ARE WE DOING? THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF THESE PROTESTS STARTED COMING FROM

>> RIGHT >> SO HOW MUCH HAS THIS GALVANIZED THEM? I DON'T KNOW >> IT'S INTERESTING THAT THAT IS DIRECTLY THE AMOUNT OF THE POPULATION THAT THE REVOLUTION WAS SUPPOSED TO STIR THE POORER, DISENFRANCHISED AREAS, AND NOW THEY'RE WATCHING THAT SPENDING AND FEELING INFURIATED ABOUT IT >> THAT'S RIGHT

BUT THE PEOPLE SEE WHERE IT'S GOING FOR ANYBODY WHO'S WATCHING OR LISTENING, TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE IRANIAN CONSTITUTION THIS TELLS YOU WHAT IRAN IS ABOUT AND THE GOALS OF THE COUNTRY AND ONE OF THOSE ENDURING GOAL SYSTEM TO EXPORT THE REVOLUTION

GOALS IS TO EXPORE THE REVOLUTION >> RIGHT >> AND IN ORDER TO DO THAT, YOU'RE GOING TO CONSTANTLY BE DOING THINGS IN THE REGION, CONSTANTLY INVOLVED WITH LEBANON, HIS BOWLA ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WITH REVOLUTIONARIES IS WHEN THEY WIN THEY HAVE TO GOVERN

>> YEAH! HOW CAN WE REMAIN AS REVOLUTIONARIES WHEN WE'RE NOW THE ESTABLISHMENT, RIGHT? >> VELASQUEZ, SAME THING >> EXACTLY >> I WANT TO BRING IN OLIVIA I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SOME NEW INFORMATION FOR US ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON AT THE WHITE HOUSE >> WELL, MAINLY I JUST WANTED TO SEND THE REMINDER THAT ONCE THESE CONVERSATIONS END TONIGHT, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WITH THESE ALL-HANDS CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFINGS THAT ARE EXPECTED TO TAKE PLACE TOMORROW

IT'S UNCLEAR IF THEY WILL HAVE THEIR HANDS TIED BUT CONGRESS HAS BEEN VEHEMENTLY, AT LEAST DEMOCRATS, DEMANDING SOME ANSWERS AND TRANSPARENCY INTO THE SERIES OF THE DECISIONS AND THE INTELLIGENCE UNDERLYING THE STRIKE ON SOLEIMANI TO BEGIN WITH THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CALLS BY DEMOCRATS TO DECLASSIFY, SAYING THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO THAT DECISION AND TO GET SOME ANSWERS AS TO WHAT THE STRATEGY IS FROM HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTION OF WHY NOW? WHY NOW DID WE ACT TO SOLEIMANI? IF THESE WERE EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES AND AN ATTACK WAS IMNENTD, WHAT WERE THEY? AND HOW DO YOU GET ON THE OFF- RAMP HERE? THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE INDICATING TODAY THAT THE INTELLIGENCE, THAT VERY SORT OF VALUABLE INTELLIGENCE THAT CANNOT BE SHARED WITH THE ENTIRETY OF THE CONGRESS, WAS ONLY SHARED WITH THE GANG OF 8, WHICH RECEIVED A BRIEFING TODAY WE KNOW THERE WERE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS LETTING THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AND THE HEADS OF THE RESPECTED INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES KNOW WHAT THEY KNEW ABOUT THE IMPENDING STRIKES THAT SOLEIMANI WAS APPARENTLY PLANNING

AND LIKELY THEY DISCUSSED ANY INTELLIGENCE ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN FORTHCOMING FROM IRAN IN THE COMING DAYS IT'S NOT CLEAR WHETHER THEY HAD PERFECT VISIBILITY INTO WHAT IS HAPPENING TONIGHT THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN SHARING THAT INTELLIGENCE WITH, AGAIN, THAT CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AND INTELLIGENCE >> WE CAN ASSUME THAT TOMORROW, LAWMAKERS WILL ALSO GET A BRIEFING ON THE VERY LATEST DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, CORRECT? >> THAT IS THE EXPECTATION I DON'T KNOW THAT THOSE PLANS HAVE BEEN UPENDED YET

IF THERE IS A NEED FOR THE DEFENSE TO BE AT THE THE PENTAGON, THEY'RE UNLIKELY TO TAKE IT TO CONGRESS BUT THE LAWMAKERS ARE PRETTY ADAMANT THAT THEY NEED ANSWERS IF THIS IS NATIONAL SECURITY, AND AMERICAN LIVES ARE AT RICK, THAT'S GOING TO TAKE THE FOREFRONT TO BRIEFINGS BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE AFTERMATH OF THIS ATTACK, CALLS FOR THE LEADERSHIP TO MAKE ITS INTENTIONS CLEAR IS ONLY GOING TO INTENSIFY >> THANK YOU SO MUCH

AND WE'RE GOING TO BRING IN IAN LEE ROCKETS WERE LAUNCHED VERY CLOSE TO WHERE YOU ARE WHAT IS THE LATEST ON THE GROUND THERE? >> WELL, IT'S A REALLY FLUID SITUATION RIGHT NOW PEOPLE ARE WAITING TO SEE IF THERE'S GONNA BE ANOTHER BARRAGE OF ROCKETS THOSE ROCKET, WE HEARD THEM, ACTUALLY, A LITTLE AFTER 1:00 IN THE MORNING HERE, LOCAL TIME

WE HEARD TWO LOUD EXPLOSIONS THOSE WERE JUST NORTH OF THE CONSULATE WE'RE HEARING THAT NO KARNLTS HAVE BEEN REPORTED NO CASUALTIES HAVE BEEN REPORTED OUR TEAM WENT OUT THERE TO CHECK THE CONSULATE, AND IT WAS VERY CALM THERE

NO SENSE OF EMERGENCY SO IT SEEMS LIKE THOSE MISSILES LANDED QUITE FAR NORTH OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY PRESENCE HERE BUT THE QUESTION NOW IS ARE THERE GONNA BE MORE? AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT THEY'RE GONNA BE WATCHING CLOSELY TONIGHT IS THERE MORE GONNA BE INCOMING? AND THEN HOW IS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT GOING TO RESPOND TO THAT? AND I CAN TELL YOU ALSO TONIGHT, WE'VE HEARD HELICOPTERS FLYING OVER TOO A VERY TENSE EVENING HERE

>> AND IAN THE AIRBASE THAT WAS TARGETED WAS A COALITION BASE THERE WFRPT ONLY US TROOPS THERE DO WE KNOW HOW OTHERS ARE RESPONDING? >> RIGHT NOW IT REALLY IS JUST WAIT AND SEE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN

WE'RE EXPECTING THE PRESIDENT TO TALK POTENTIALLY A LITTLE LATER TO GIVE US AN UPDATE WHAT'S GOING ON BUT RIGHT NOW, WHAT WE'RE HEARING AT LEAST FROM THAT BASE, THEY'RE ASSESSING THE DAMAGE, ASSESSING WHAT HAPPENED WE'RE HEARING REPORTS BEFORE THIS HAPPENED THAT OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COALITION WERE FIGURING OUT WAYS TO LEAVE IRAQ AFTER THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT SAID THAT THEY WANT ALL FOREIGN TROOPS OUT OF THE COUNTRY ONE THING ALSO WE'RE GONNA BE WATCHING THIS EVENING, IS GETTING THE IRGC, THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS OF IRAN THREATENING REGIONAL ALLIES THAT IF SOMEHOW THEY'RE MIXED UP IN ALL THIS, IRAN IS SAYING THEY'RE WILLING TO TARGET THEM AS WELL

A LOT OF COUNTRIES IN THIS REGION, A LOT OF THEM ARE ON EDGE TONIGHT JUST WATCHING THESE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS >> IAN LEE IN IRAQ, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT DAVID MARTIN JOINS ME NOW FROM THE PENTAGON HE IS A CBS NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT WHAT'S THE VERY LATEST ON THIS FLUID SITUATION? >> WELL, THE LATEST IS THE ATTACKS OCCURRED, A DOZEN BALLISTICIMISMS

AND US IS WARNING FOR DAYS NOW THAT IRAN WOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ATTACK AGAINST AMERICAN INTERESTS AND HERE YOU HAVE AN ATTACK LAUNCHED DIRECTLY FROM IRANIAN TERRITORY ON TWO BASES WHERE AMERICAN TROOPS ARE LOCATED

SO I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT THAT THIS ATTACK CROSSES A RED LINE AND WILL DRAW A RETALIATORY STRIKE AND THE QUESTION REALLY IS IS THE RETALIATORY STRIKE GOING TO BE LIMITED IN SCOPE TO JUST THE MISSILE BASE, FOR INSTANCE, WHICH FIRED THESE MISSILES? OR IS IT GOING TO BE A MUCH BROADER ATTACK WHICH GOES AFTER THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS, FOR INSTANCE SINCE THAT IS THE MILITARY UNIT THAT LAUNCHED THE STRIKES ALL THAT IS STILL IN PLAY RIGHT NOW AS IS AN ASSESSMENT OF HOW MUCH DAMAGE WAS DONE TO THESE BASES BY THESE MISSILEMISSILES

THE PENT 21 IS SAYING VERY LITTLE ABOUT THAT FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT IT DOESN'T WANT IRAN TO KNOW WHETHER THEIR ATTACK MET WITH ANY SUCCESS SO THE FACT THAT THE PENTAGON IS SAYING IT IS STILL EVALUATING THE BATTLE DAMAGE IS REALLY JUST A PLACE HOLDER ON WHAT REALLY HAPPENED >> SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT AT THIS POINT THE PENT GONE KNEW EXACTLY HOW MUCH DAMAGE THERE WAS >> THEY CERTAINLY HAVE REPORTS OF HOW MUCH DAMAGE THERE WAS

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT WOULD BE REPORTED IS THE EXTENT OF CASUALTIES BECAUSE, OF COURSE, YOU'D NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AND WE JUST HAVEN'T HEARD ANY REPORTS >> IF THERE ARE AMERICAN CASUALTIES, THAT WILL PRESUMABLY BE REPORTED, CORRECT? >> OH, YES WHENEVER A MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY IS KILLED, IT GETS REPORTED

AND I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT ANYBODY WAS KILLED >> RIGHT >> OUR INITIAL REPORTS WERE THAT THERE WERE NO CASUALTIES AND YOU HEARD IAN SAY THE SAME THING BUT I'M JUST SAYING WE HAVE NO OFFICIAL WORD >> RIGHT

>> FROM THE PENTAGON ON WHETHER THERE WERE CASUALTIES >> AND NOTICE THAT WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE, WON'T IT, DAVID, AS TO WHAT THE US RESPONSE WILL BE? >> WELL, I THINK THE RED LINE HAS BEEN CROSSED, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE WERE AMERICAN CASUALTIES THIS WAS A DIRECT ATTACK ON U

S TROOPS THAT'S A CAUSE FOR WAR SO IF US

TROOPS WERE KILLED OR INJURED, I THINK THAT WOULD INCREASE THE SCOPE OF WHAT THE US PLANS TO DO IN RETALIATION BUT I THINK THE RED LOIN HAS BEEN CROSSED >> DAVID MARTIN AT THE PENTAGON

THANK YOU >> SURE THING >> LET'S BRING IN CORRESPONDENT WEIJIA JIANG, AND CBS NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT HOLLY WILLIAMS FROM BAGHDAD AND SENIOR NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT ELIZABETH PALMER IN TEHERAN THANKS TO YOU FOR BEING WITH US

HOLY, LET ME START WITH YOU WHAT'S THE LATEST ON THE GROUND THERE? >> Reporter: SO WE HAVE HAD THESE TWO ATTACKS THAT WE'RE AWARE OF ONE ON AL ASSAD AIRBASE, ABOUT 100 MILES NORTHWEST OF YEAR OF HERE AND ONE ON THE BASE 200 MILES NORTH OF HERE

THEY ARE BOTH CLEARLY VERY ATTRACTIVE TARGETS FOR THE IRANIANS WE VISITED THE BASE ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS IT'S VERY BIG A LOT OF AMERICAN INVESTMENT A LOT OF AMERICAN PERSONNEL

AND A LOT OF US AIRCRAFT SO YOU CAN SEE WHY THE IRANIANS MIGHT CHOOSE TO TARGET IT REMEMBER THAT U

S TROOPS HERE IN IRAQ, THEY NUMBER ABOUT 5,000, WERE ALREADY ON HIGH ALERT AND THEY HAD POURED THEIR OPERATIONS HERE AGAINST ISIS, FEARING SOME KIND OF REVENGE ATTACK BY IRAN >> AND WHAT MORE CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WHERE YOU ARE? >> WELL, FOR A START, AMERICANS KNOW A LOT MORE ABOUT THESE ATTACKS THAN THE IRANIANS DO IT HAPPENED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

IT'S JUST AFTER 5:00 NOW AND THE SUN IS NOT UP PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WATCHING EARLY MORNING TV WILL HAVE SEEN THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD POSTED A STATEMENT CLAIMING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS ATTACK SAYING EXLIFTLY THAT IT WAS A REPRIVATELY FOR THE KILLING OF COMMANDER SOLEIMANI AND THE GUARDS HAVE POSTED VOD OF WHAT THEY SAY ARE THE OUTGOINGIMISMS BEING FIRED FROM IRAN

THE MISSILE IS A SURFACE-TO- SURFACE MISSILE, A WELL-KNOWN WEAPON IN THE ARSENAL MORE CONCERNING, THE GUARD IS SAYING THAT IF THE UNITED STATES RESPONDS TO THIS ATTACK, THE GUARD IN TURN WILL RETALIATE SO MUCH THEY'RE MAKING AN EXPLICIT THREAT OF RETALIATION AND WE HEARD DAVID SAYING MOMENTS AGO THAT HE BELIEVES THE US WILL RESPOND

SO IS LOOKING LIKE A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION THAT COULD, IN FACT, GET A LOT WORSE >> ABSOLUTELY AND WEIJIA, YOU ARE THERE IN WASHINGTON DO WE HAVE ANYMORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW THE ADMINISTRATION MIGHT RESPOND TO THIS ATTACK? >> WELL, YOU KNOW THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS BEEN ALL NIGHT LONG IN THE SITUATION RHYME WITH VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MESPER, SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, AND HIS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR AND SO FAR WE HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING FROM THE PRESIDENT

WE HAVE JUST LEARNED THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL NOT BE MAKE ANYTHING SORT OF FORMAL REMARKS HERE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BUT CERTAINLY THE QUESTION IS WHAT THEIR NEXT MOVE WILL BE AND WOE KNOW THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THEF ALREADY BEEN MAPPING OUT ANTICIPATING THAT TEHERAN WILL RESPOND IN SOME SORT OF WAY TODAY DURING A SPRING OF RARE PRESS CONFERENCES, IN FACT, ALL THREE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO I JUST MENTIONED, ASIDE FROM VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE, GAVE RARE PRESS CONFERENCES TO SAY THAT IF IRAN WERE TO DO ANYTHING, WERE TO MAKE A BAD DECISION, THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION WOULD BE READY TO RESPOND

AND PART OF THE REASON WE'RE NOT HEARING FROM THE PRESIDENT IS THEY STILL HAVE IT DECIDE WHAT IT THAT LOOKS LIKE AND WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES PEOPLE ON CAPITOL HILL ARE ALREADY PUBLICLY EXPRESSING THEIR CONCERNS THAT THIS COULD ONLY BE THE BEGIN >> RIGHT >> THAT THERE COULD BE A AT THIS TIME FOR TAT WE KNOW THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS BRIEFED HOUSE SPEAKER, NANCY PELOSI, ALONG WITH SENATE MINORITY LEADER, CHUCK SCHUMER

AND THEY ARE PUBLICLY SPEAKING OUT AS WELL WITH PELOSI SAYING THESE NEEDLESS PROVOCATIONS FROM THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE TO STOP BECAUSE AMERICA AND THE WORLD CANNOT AFFORD WAR SO MUCH IT'S AN EXTREMELY TENSE SITUATION HERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE WITH REALLY NO ANSWERS AS THE PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO HUDDLE BUT I CAN TELL YOU, TANYA, THAT IN LIGHT OF THESE ESCALATING TENSIONS, THE US

SECRET SERVICE HAS BEEFED UP ITS PRESENCE HERE AT THE WHO IS >> AND WEIJIA, WE KNOW THAT LAWMAKERS WERE ALL SET TO GET A BRIEFING ON THAT ORIGINAL ATTACK AGAINST GENERAL SOLEIMANI IS THERE MORE SCHEDULED AND TELL INCLUDE THE DAMAGE BETWEEN BY THESE ATTACKS AND THE RETALIATION PLANNED? >> AS FAR AS WE KNOW, IT IS STILL ON A SCHEDULE JUST TODAY THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFED THE GANG OF EIGHT CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS WITH CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REGARDING THAT SOLEIMANI ATTACK BUT CERTAINLY IF THAT HAPPENS TOMORROW AS IT'S EXPECTED TO, THERE WILL BE BRAND-NEW QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HAS NOW DEVELOPED AND WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO DO MOVING FORWARD

PELOSI IS PLANNING TO TAKE A VOTE, WAS PLANNING, PERHAPS, STILL IS ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAPPENED TO TAKE A VOTE ON A RESOLUTION TO LIMIT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S MILITARY ACTIONS AGAINST IRAN SO THESE ARE ISSUES THAT DEFINITELY DEMOCRATS WILL BE RAISING BECAUSE THEY ARE CONCERNED THAT NUMBER ONE, IT WAS NOT WORTH IT TO TAKE OUT SOLEIMANI GIVEN THE RESIDUAL DANGER THAT WE ARE ALREADY SEEING NOW

AND NUMBER TWO, THEY WANT TO STOP POTENTIAL ESCALATION BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH THE PRESIDENT AND HIS CABINET MEMBERS HAVE SAID, THE PAUL IS IN IRAN'S COURT TO DEESCALATE MANY CRITICS OF THE ADMINISTRATION ARE ARGUING THAT THE US HAS TO DEESCALATE AS WELL

SO THEY HAVE TO SOMEHOW COME TO A COMPROMISE BEFORE WE, FRIFRNGLY, DO END UP IN WAR >> WEIJIA JIANG AT THE WHITE HOUSE, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU TO ELIZABETH PALMER AND HOLLY WILLIAMS AS WELL WE'RE GONNA BRING BACK IN HUNTER WALKER AND NOW THERE ARE GOING TO BE VERY DIFFERENT QUESTIONS REGARDING THAT FIRST STRIKE

IF LAWMAKERS WANTED TO ASK WHAT'S THE PLAN IN PLACE FOR THE RESPONSE? NOW WE'VE SEEN THE RESPONSE SO A LOT IS GOING TO BE COMPILED IN TOMORROW'S BRIEFING HOW DO YOU EXPECT DEMOCRATS WILL RESPOND TO THIS >> WELL, I THINK IT'S INTERESTING EXCUSE ME

IT'S AN ISSUE FOR DEMOCRATS ON THE HILL AND WE'RE ALREADY SEEING OUR FIRST INDICATION THAT IT'S AN ISSUE FOR DEMOCRATS ON THE 2020 CAMPAIGN TRAIL JOE BIDEN WAS AT A FUNDRAISER TONIGHT AND IT WAS IN THE SUBURBS OF PHILADELPHIA, AND ACCORDING TO JULIA, THE LOCAL REPORTER FOR THE PHILLY ENQUIRER HE BRIEFLY ADDRESSED THE STRIKES

WHILE PREFACING IT BY SAYING HE DIDN'T HAVE MANY DETAILS AND ONLY WANTED TO SPEAK GENERALLY JOE BIDEN'S COMMENTS WAS, QUOTE, "WHAT'S HAPPENING IN IRAN AND IRAQ TODAY IS PREDICTABLE NOT EXACTLY WHAT'S HAPPENING BUT THE CHAOS THAT'S ENSUING" AND HE BLAMED TRUMP FOR WITHDRAWING FROM THE NUCLEAR DEAL AND ALSO FOR THE KILLING OF SOLEIMANI HE SAID OF TRUMP, QUOTE, "SOME OF THE THINGS HE'S DONE AND SAID IN THE MEANTIME HAVE BEEN CLOSE TO LIED COURTHOUSE, INCLUDING THREATENING TO BOMB A HOLY SITE

I PRAY TO GOD THAT HE'S LISTENING TO HIS MILITARY COMMANDERS FOR THE FIRST TIME BECAUSE SO FAR THAT HAS NOT BEEN THE CASE" >> RIGHT >> I THINK BIDEN'S COMMENTS ARE REL INDICATIVE OF HOW WE'RE GOING TO SEE DEMOCRATS REALLY CRITICIZE PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR THE ESCALATION HERE >> LET'S DRILL DOWN FOR A SECOND ON THAT THREAT BY PRESIDENT TRUMP, THAT WAS WIDELY CRITICIZED, THAT THREAT TO ATTACK NATIONAL OR RELIGIOUS ARTIFACTS I BELIEVE THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BACKED DOWN

I THINK MARK ESPER WAS ASK BODY THAT AT ONE POINT AND HE SAID WE DON'T COMMIT WAR KROIMS AND I BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT MAY HAVE SAID SOMETHING TODAY THAT INDICATED HE WAS BACKING DOWN FROM THAT SPECIFIC THREAT AS WELL IS THAT YOUR UNDERSTANDING? >> YEAH SO WHPD WAS OVER THE WEEKEND, THE PRESIDENT TOTED THAT THE US

HAD 52 SITES IN I RAN REPRESENTING THE 52 HOSTAGES THAT WERE TAKEN AT THE US EMBASSY DURING THE REVOLUTION THERE AND THESE SITES WERE READY TO BE TARGETED IN THE EVENT OF ANY NAIFRN RETALIATION IRANIAN RETALIATION

THAT PROMPTED A BACKLASH BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE SAID ON THE AGAINST MILITARY LAW TO TARGET CULTURAL SITES >> RIGHT >> WHAT HE SAID IN THE OVAL OFFICE TODAY WAS — THIS IS A, QUOTE, "FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP, "WE ARE ACCORDING TO VARIOUS LAWS SUPPOSED TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE AND YOU KNOW WHAT, IF THAT IS WHAT THE LAW IS, I LIKE TO OBEY THE LAW BUT THINK OF IT, THEY BLOWUP OUR PEOPLE, AND THEN WE HAVE TO BE VERY GENTLE WITH THE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS

I'M OKAY WITH IT, BUT IF IRAN DOES ANYTHING THEY SHOULDN'T BE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES AND VERY STRONGLY" >> RIGHT >> THAT SOAKED TO BACK AWAY FROM THE SPECIFIC THREAT TO CULTURAL SITES BUT HE CERTAINLY DIDN'T BACK DOWN FROM THE RED LINE WITH IRAN >> ABSOLUTELY IT'S SORT OF SORRY, I'M NOT SORRY KIND OF RESPONSE

AND IN TERMS OF A RESPONSE THAT THE WHITE HOUSE MIGHT BE FRAMING TODAY WE JUST HEARD DAVID MARTIN AT THE PENTAGON SAYING THAT HE BELIEVE THAT THIS ATTACK, WHETHER OR NOT AMERICAN LIVES WERE LOST, CONSTITUTES A CROSSING OF THE RED LINE THAT THE WHITE HOUSE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHAT CAN WE INFER FROM THE PRESIDENT'S TWEETS AND WHAT HE'S SAID ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF THE RETALIATION THAT MIGHT FOLLOW? IN SOME WAYS, HE MAY HAVE BOXED HIMSELF INTEREST A BIT OF A CORNER WITH SOME OF LANGUAGE THAT HE'S USED >> YEAH, I THINK IT'S REALLY HARD TO DAMAGE WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS GONNA DO ON THIS IN SYRIA, WE SAW HIM DROP THE QUOTE UNQUOTE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS AT ONE POINT WHEN HE WAS INTERESTED IN RETALIATING, AGAINST THINGS ISIS HAD DONE

BUT AS WE DISCUSSED EARLIER, THERE WAS THIS INCIDENT WITH THE DRONE STRIKE WHERE IRAN SHUT DOWN ONE OF OUR DRONES EARLIER THIS SUMMER AND IT SOAKED TO VIOLET HIS RED LINE BUT HE DID BACK DOWN FROM THAT HE INDICATED HE WOULD GET US OUT OF WHAT HE CALLED, QUOTE UNQUOTE, ENDLESS WARS IN THE MID-EAST SOURCES CLOSE TO THE PRESIDENT TOLD ME RIGHT AFTER THE KILLING THAT THEY SAW SOLEIMANI AS A VERY MAJOR IRANIAN MILITARY LORD

THEY MADE THE COMPARISON TO SCHWARZCOF, AND THEY SAID THAT PUT US ON THE, QUOTE UNQUOTE, PATH I THINK THE REAL QUESTION THAT'S GONNA COME UP WITH DEMOCRATS ON THE TRAIL AND THE HILL AS WE LOOK AT POTENTIAL FURTHER ESCALATION HERE IS WHAT WAS THIS SUPPOSED INTELLIGENCE THAT PROMPTED THE STRIKE AGAINST SOLEIMANI? >> RIGHT >> AND MY COLLEAGUE, JENNA MCLOCKLIN, JUST PUBLISHED A STORY SAYING THAT SAUDI OFFICIALS WARNED OF A CYBER ATTACK LITERALLY ON THE DAY OF THAT STRIKE AND EXPERTS BELIEVE THAT IRAN WAS BEHIND THAT CYBER ATTACK IT'S NOT CLEAR THAT THAT'S WHAT PROMPTED THE KILLING OF SOLEIMANI

I DON'T THINK A CYBER ATTACK IS THE KIND OF IMMINENT THREAT THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS IMPLIED IT WAS BUT WHEN HE WAS TALKING IN THE OVAL TODAY, THEY ACTUALLY ASKED THE PRESIDENT, WHAT WAS THIS INTELLIGENCE THAT LED YOU TO MAKE THE DECISION TO KILL SOLEIMANI, AND TRUMP'S COMMENT WAS NOT AN ANSWER OF THE HE SAID LOOK AT WHAT HE WAS PLANNING RIGHT NOW IT'S CLASSIFIED I THINK THAT'S GONNA BE ONE OF THE BIGGER QUESTIONS THAT WE SEE EMERGE THIS WOKE WHAT WAS THIS INTELLIGENCE, AND CAN THE WHITE HOUSE EXPLAIN WHY THEY TOOK THIS DRASTIC STEP? >> THAT'S WHAT LAWMAKERS ARE SUPPOSED TO HEAR TOMORROW

SO WE'LL SEE THANK YOU SO MUCH LET'S BRING IN CATHERINE HERRAGE SHE IS THE SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT FOR CBS NEWS >> THE NEWS CONFERENCE AT THE PEPTIDE GONE EARLIER TODAY, SECRETARY ESPERPROVIDE PROVIDED A LOT OF DETAIL ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE THAT LED TO THE STRIKE LAST WEEK

HE WAS ASKED THE QUESTION WHETHER THIS WAS AN IMMINENT OR ACTIVE PLOT SAY IT WAS DAY, NOT WEEKS AWAY AND HE WAS ALSO VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT GENERAL SOLEIMANI SAYING — I'M USING THE LANGUAGE HE USED, HE WAS IN BAGHDAD TO COORDINATE AN ATTACK SEAGAIN THAT TELLS YOU THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAD BASED ON MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE STREAMS THAT THIS WAS A PLOT IN ITS FINAL STAGES A COUPLE OF OTHER POINTS, TANYA, THAT REALLY STOOD OUT FROM ESPER'S NEWS CONFERENCE, HE SAID IRAN WILL RETALIATE

THAT WAS THE EXPECTATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE BACKSTORY THERE, WE HAD THE CALLING FROM MY COLLEAGUE, DAVID MARTIN, AT THE PENT GONE THAT MILITARY OFFICIALS WERE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THEY CALLED TROUBLING MOVEMENTS OF MILITARY IRANIAN ACCESS IN THE REGION AND FINALLY SECRETARY ESPER OFFERED A VERY PUBLIC OFF-RAMP FOR THE IRANIANS HE SAID THE U

S WAS OPEN TO A DIALOGUE AND A DIPLOMATIC RESOLUTION AND I KEEP COMING BACK TO THAT POINT BECAUSE OVER THE WEEKEND, LINDSEY GRAHAM TOLD CBS NEWS THAT HE WAS GOING TO PERSONALLY URGE THE PRESIDENT TO LAYOUT A ROADMAP OR PATHWAY TO DEESCALATION >>> IF THERE IS NO RETALIATION FOR THIS ATTACK, THAT THAT IS IT, THEY ARE DONE >> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION THIS EVENING, THE TIMING, I THINK IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THE TIMELINE AND HOW THESE EVENTS STACK

JUST ABOUT THE SAME TIME THESE MISSILE TAPS WERE LAUNCHED, WE HAD THE STATEMENT RELEASED THIS YEAR, SO THE UMBRELLA GROUP THAT IS OVER THE MILITARY THEY SAID THIS WAS IN REVENGE FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL SOLEIMANI I REACHED SOMEONE WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE WHO TOLD ME THAT THEY WERE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE STATEMENT BECAUSE THEY FELT THIS WAS VERY MUCH FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION AND IRAN THIS WAS A WAY TO SAY TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE, WE ARE PUNCHING úBA AND MY CONTACT WAS OPERATING OFF OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION BUT THEY SAID THEY DID NOT BELIEVE THIS WAS THE GRAND RETALIATORY STRIKE THEY HAD BEEN ANTICIPATING, OR LIKELY ANTICIPATING, FROM THE IRANIANS IN RESPONSE TO THE KILLING OF GENERAL SOLEIMANI LAST WEEK >> THEY DID NOT GET THE SENSE THE IRANIANS WERE DONE? >> NOT EARLIER TODAY

BUT AGAIN, IT IS VERY FLUID SO I DO NOT WANT TO GO TOO FAR AND SPECULATE BUT WHEN I HAD MY CONVERSATION THEY SAID THEY FELT THIS WAS VERY MUCH FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION TO PUNCH BACK AGAINST THE IDEA THAT IRAN WAS WEAK IN THE FACE OF THE UNITED STATES >> WRITE AND YOU HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH YOUR SOURCES WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATION WHAT IS YOUR SENSE ABOUT HOW QUICKLY THEY WILL DECIDE ON NEXT STEPS? >> I THINK YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK AT THE TIKTOK OF THIS EVENING

USE ALL THE TOP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISORS GO DIRECTLY TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND TO CONSULT WITH THE PRESIDENT IN THE WHITE HOUSE WAS VERY LOOK ABOUT SAYING THE PRESIDENT REMAINED ENGAGED THIS EVENING THOUGH AT THIS POINT WE ARE NOT SEEING ANY STATEMENT OR ADDRESS FROM THE PRESIDENT ON THE INCIDENT THIS EVENING I DO NOT WANT TO SPECULATE, BUT IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM MY REPORTING THAT THEY ANTICIPATED RETALIATION BY IRAN AND IT WAS NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE THAT THEY WOULD, AND THESE ARE MY WORDS, TAKE THE BAIT AND ENGAGE, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF SECRETARY ESPER'S VERY PUBLIC COMMENTS THAT THEY WERE URGING IRAN TO TAKE THE PATH OF DE- ESCALATION AND THE US WAS OPEN TO A DIALOGUE WITH BACKCOUNTRY >> SO, IT APPEARS, THEN, ACCORDING TO DAVID MARTIN, THAT THE PENTAGON, WE WERE TALKING TO HIM EARLIER, THAT, YOU KNOW, THE IRANIANS DID NOT TAKE THAT OLIVE BRANCH, AS IT WERE, OR DID NOT SEE IT AS IN ALL OF BRANCH

>> IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT LOOK THAT WAY BECAUSE WHEN YOU LOOK AT SECRETARY ESPER'S COMMENTS AND THEN YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF BALLISTIC MISSILES THAT THE PENTAGON SAYS WAS FIRED SIGNIFICANTLY FROM IRAN AND NOT FROM ONE OF ITS PROXIES OR NOT FROM SYRIA, WHICH IS ABOUT 200 MILES AWAY FROM THE PRIMARY AIR BASE THAT WAS ATTACKED, SO THEY REALLY TOOK OWNERSHIP, NOT ONLY IN THE LAUNCHING OF THE ATTACK, BUT THEN AGAIN, THIS VERY PUBLIC STATEMENT FROM THE IRG SEE, IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS COUNSEL, THIS IS THE GROUP OVER THE MILITARY SAYING IT WAS US, IT WAS IN REVENGE FOR GENERAL SOLEIMANI IT WAS A SPECIFIC MESSAGE TO THE UNITED STATES BUT AGAIN, I WOULD EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MESSAGE DOMESTICALLY IN THE COUNTRY AS WELL, THEY ARE PUNCHING BACK IN THE UNITED STATES IN THIS CASE >> ABSOLUTELY, AND THAT THEY SHOULD THE AIRSTRIKES ON úNATIO IT WAS SOMETHING THEY COULD PUT ON THE AIRWAVES, AS IT WERE >> IT SEEMED VERY CHOREOGRAPHED, I WOULD ADD

>> EXACTLY DID YOU GET THE SENSE THAT IT WILL BE OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ADMINISTRATION WHETHER THERE WERE US CASUALTIES AS A RESULT OF THESE ATTACKS? OR THAT THE ATTACKS IN AND OF THEMSELVES WERE SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT A RESPONSE? >> AGAIN, IN THESE SITUATIONS I DO NOT LIKE TO GO TOO FAR AND SPECULATE ABOUT WHAT I THINK I GUESS THE OTHER ISSUE, IF I COULD DRAW ATTENTION TO TONIGHT, IS THESE CLASSIFIED BRIEFINGS THAT THEY HAVE HAD ON CAPITOL HILL FOR THE LEADERSHIP, THE SO-CALLED GANG OF EIGHT

THAT WOULD BE A VERY HIGHLY CLASSIFIED BRIEFING THAT WOULD GET INTO THE SOME OF THE SOURCES AND METHODS AND A LOT OF GRANULARITY ABOUT HOW WE OBTAIN THE INTELLIGENCE, WHO WE GOT IT FROM, OUR PARTNERS IN THE REGION, AND WHAT WE ANTICIPATE AS NEXT STEPS FROM THE IRANIAN I MENTION THAT BECAUSE, I AM SURE YOU HAVE NOTED ALREADY IN YOUR BROADCAST, THAT THE ADMINISTRATION, THEY WERE VERY QUICK TO NOTIFY THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ABOUT THE RESPONSE FROM IRAN THIS EVENING THERE WAS NO GAP BETWEEN WHAT WAS HAPPENING, ALMOST IN REAL- TIME AND THAT NOTIFICATION AND THAT SEEMED TO BE — PAYING ATTENTION TO THE COMPLAINTS OF THE LAST FEW DAYS, THAT THEY HAD BEEN LEFT IN THE DARK ABOUT WHAT WAS CLEARLY A VERY SERIOUS DECISION BY THE UNITED STATES, TO TAKE OUT THIS GENERAL

>> ABSOLUTELY THANK YOU SO MUCH >> YOU'RE WELCOME >>> LET'S BRING IN NOW, CBS NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, OLIVIA GOT US ONCE AGAIN

OLIVIA, LET'S LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE, IF YOU WILL HOW WILL THESE ATTACKS IMPACT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY MORE BROADLY? AND I ASK THAT IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE IS A TENSION RIGHT NOW, I THINK, IN THE ADMINISTRATION, BETWEEN NOT WANTING TO ENTER INTO ANY MORE FOREIGN WARS, NOBODY HAS AN APPETITE FOR THAT AFTER IRAQ AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, THE NEED TO APPEAR STRONG IN THE FACE OF IRAN'S ESCALATING MILITARY ACTIONS SO, WHERE WILL THAT BALLOTS BE STRUCK? >> ABSOLUTELY THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT AND SOMETHING THAT OF COURSE, THE PRESIDENT RAN ON, WAS THIS NOTION THAT, YOU KNOW, RATHER THAN BEING ADMIRED IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN THESE REGIONAL CONFLICTS, WE WERE GOING TO STEP OUT OF IT

AND A CRUCIAL PART OF HIS OWN ADMINISTRATION'S NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY, THE SORT OF SEMINAL DOCUMENT THAT IS PUT OUT ANNUALLY, THAT LAYS OUT A SORT OF WORLDVIEW FROM THE PENTAGON ON THE PART OF THE US MILITARY, OUTLINING THE SORT OF NECESSARY PIVOT TO WHAT IT REFERS TO AS GREAT POWER COMPETITION YOU KNOW, THIS NOTION THAT THE US

IS IN A LONG-TERM STRATEGIC COMPETITION BETWEEN NATIONS LIKE RUSSIA AND CHINA, YOU KNOW, RISING POWERS, OR AT LEAST IMPORTANT POWERS THAT WOULD NEED TO SORT OF MEET WITH THE US COUNTERBALANCED, AS THEY TRIED TO RISE TO ECONOMIC AND MILITARY PROMINENCE THERE IS NOTION ALSO THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE TO PIVOT AWAY FROM ITS EFFORT TO COUNTER TERRORISM, THAT IT HAS FOCUSED ITS INTELLIGENCE AND MILITARY CAPABILITIES ON FOR OVER A DECADE AND IN ORDER TO PRESERVE AN INTERNATIONAL ORDER WHERE THE U

S MAINTAINS SOME KIND OF DOMINANCE, TO REALLY INVEST ON MAINTAINING ITS COMPETITIVE EDGE ONE OTHER THING THAT IS SORT OF A SECOND OR THIRD DEGREE OFFENSE, NOT TO DIMINISH THE URGENCY OF WHAT IS GOING ON WITH REGARD TO IRAN, BUT ONE OF THE SORT OF ANCILLARY EFFECTS THAT BOTH NATO AND THE US-LED COALITION TO DEFEAT ISIS HAVE SUSPENDED THEIR OPERATIONS THERE, RAISING THE VERY REAL SPECTER THAT THAT GROUP COULD RECONSTITUTE, AND RELATIVE RESORT ORDER, MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS HAVE WARNED CONSISTENTLY THAT ISIS'S PROPAGANDA MACHINE IS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE

AND IT DOES NOT TAKE TOO MUCH OF AN OPPORTUNITY, TOO BIG A WINDOW, FOR THEM TO EFFECTIVELY REGAIN AT LEAST SOME CLOUT, IF NOT TERRITORY SO THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT THING ALSO TO KEEP IN MIND, AS THE ADMINISTRATION PLOTS ITS NEXT STEPS HERE >> ABSOLUTELY THAT IS CERTAINLY A COMFORTING FACTOR BUT FOR ALL PLAYERS INVOLVED, BEN IS ALSO STILL WITH US

HE IS THE SENIOR FELLOW AT THE FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE DEMOCRACIES BEEN, IF YOU COULD WEIGH IN ON THIS QUESTION OF ISIS, RIGHT? BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, ISIS IS NO FRIEND TO IRAN, NO FRIEND TO IRAQ, NO FRIENDS TO THE US AND YET, THERE IS TENSIONS AMONG ALL OF THESE PLAYERS SO, HOW DOES THAT PLAY OUT? >> YOU KNOW, IN THE SHORT TO MEDIUM-TERM, IF THERE IS A PAUSE LIKE WE HAVE BEEN HEARING AS REPORTERS IN THE PAST TWO DAYS IN THE CAMPAIGNS BY WASHINGTON, NATO, AND THE INTERNATIONAL COALITION, THAT COULD BE A BOON TO IRAN

REMEMBER, WITH THE ACTUAL CAMPAIGN, THE FIGHTING ON THE GROUND BY IRAQI SECURITY FORCES AND MILITIAS AS WELL AS OF COURSE, THE US AIRPOWER ABOVE, WHAT IS GOING ON, IRAN USED THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS TO SOLIDIFY ITS CONTROL IT HAD BASICALLY CREATED THE IRG C MODEL IN NEIGHBORING IRAQ IT HAS POWER MILITARIES AND PENETRATED THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

SO HAVING A RADICAL JIHADIST SUNNI ORGANIZATION AND A NEIGHBORING COUNTRY THAT HAS INVITED YOU AND TO HELP FIGHT THAT ORGANIZATION PERMITS YOU BOTH TO STOP THE THREAT TO YOUR COUNTRY AS WELL AS TO MAKE GAINS IN THE REGION ON BEHALF OF YOUR OWN CALL SEE YOU WANT TO DO THAT QUITE SKILLFULLY IN 2015 AND 16 YOU CAN LOOK AT SOME OF THE BATTLES, THEY EVEN HAD SOME IRAN BACKED FORCES IN 2014, EVEN US AIR COVER, VERY INTERESTING AND SMALLER TOWNS IN IRAQ AND PLACES, IT IS A START TO KNOW WHERE THAT CONFLUENCE OF IRAQ — AROUND AND PRO

TO HAVE ISIS TAKE OVER TOTALLY AND WIN WOULD NOT BE IN IRAN'S INTEREST EITHER >> IT IS NOT QUITE THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND, IT IS A LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED >> EXACTLY SO, IF THE US

DOESN'T RESPOND, HOW WOULD THE IRANIAN SEE THAT? AT THIS POINT WE CAN PROBABLY ALL AGREE THAT IT IS LIKELY THE US WILL RESPOND BUT IF THE US DECIDES THAT THIS WAS POUND OF FLESH FOR POUND OF FLESH OR WHAT HAVE YOU, HOW WOULD THE IRANIANS INTERPRET THAT? >> JUST TO BE CLEAR AND TO REMIND THE AUDIENCE, THIS TWEET STORM THAT IS NOW BEING DEFINED ON THIS CALL IN ON THE SHOW AS THE NEW U

S REDLINE HAS ACTUALLY BEEN THE US REDLINE BEFORE BRIAN HEAD, THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE, MIKE POMPEO, AND ALSO JOHN BOLTON, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, TALKED ABOUT THREATS TO AMERICA'S INTEREST AND SECURITY, FOR BASICALLY NINE, 10 MONTH PERIOD, AS BEING MET WITH OVERWHELMING FORCE

AND EACH INSTANCE, THERE WERE THREATS TO AMERICA'S INTERESTS IN SECURITY IN THE 2018, EARLY 2019 PERIOD AND THE US DID NOT RESPOND OVERWHELMING FORCE IT REALLY REMAINED IS THAT UNTIL MAY 2019 WHEN IRAN ESCALATED FURTHER

IT WOULD NOT BE UNPRECEDENTED FOR THE US TO BACK DOWN FROM ISSUING THE THREAT LINE INSIDE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION THAT'S WHERE THE EVENTS ARE MOVING SO QUICKLY SINCE DECEMBER, BECAUSE I RAN DOES IT ADMIT ANYONE AID IF THE U

S DOESN'T DO IT, IT IS POSSIBLE THE IRANIANS WOULD HAVE USED THIS AGAINST LOW PROBABILITY CHANCE, BUT IT IS POSSIBLE THEY WOULD USE HIS RIGHT TO RESPOND TO THE KILLING OF SOLEIMANI AND THEN SIMPLY SIT IT OUT MEANING IF WASHINGTON DOESN'T RESPOND, THE IRANIANS ARE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE RESTORE THAT DETERRENCE AND YOU GO BACK TO A GAME OF ESCALATION BUT A MUCH MORE MANAGEABLE ONE THAT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IT IS RACING TOWARD WAR ANYTIME SOON IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT WEAKNESS IS PROVOCATIVE IRANIANS SEE THE TRIP ADMINISTRATION IS AFRAID, MAYBE THEY WILL MAKE GOOD ON THEIR THREAT TO RESPOND TO U

S INTERESTS IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY AND SAY THAT TRUMP WILL NOT RESPOND >> OR PERHAPS THEY WOULD RESPOND WITH A COVERT ATTACK, THAT IS LESS EASILY TRACED LIKELY TO IRAN >> TRUE THEY CAN SNEAK ONE AND AND THE U

S WOULD HAVE TO FIRST DISCOVER IT AND THEN EXPOSE IT AND THEN SHOW ITS CHAIN OF RETRIBUTION ALL OF THIS TAKES TIME, AND TIME PERMITS THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE MIND TO CALL IN DE- ESCALATION TO SIT IN >> WOULD YOU AGREE, THOUGH, THAT WHETHER OR NOT THE US

RETALIATES HERE, THAT IRAN IS PROBABLY MOTIVATED TO CONTINUE ITS STRATEGY OF AGGRESSIONS? MAYBE PERHAPS, SMALLER AGGRESSIONS >> FOR ME, THE DECISION POINT FOR IRAN IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO , WAS MAY 2019 UNTIL MAY 2019, IRAN'S POLICY WAS TWO IS A SON TOWARD THE US MEET PRESSURE WITH PRESSURE,FOR TAT OVERTIME

UNLESS THE US CONFRONTS YOU MILITARILY, DON'T CHANGE THE COURSE NOW THERE IS A CHANCE FOR THE US

TO CONFRONT IRAN MILITARILY IF THERE IS A COMPLEX OR IF THERE IS A DE-ESCALATION BY AMERICA AND IRAN SAYS THIS IS WEAKNESS AND POUNCES, THEN OF COURSE, THE POLICY COULD BECOME JUST ESCALATION AT LARGE, WHERE THERE IS NO MEASURE OR SCIENTISTIC RHYME OR REASON WHY IRAN GOES FROM ONE ESCALATION TO ANOTHER MAKE IT TOXIC FOR AMERICA, THEY CAN RECONSIDER THAT IS, RESPONDING TO THE TERRORIST THREAT AGAINST SOLEIMANI THERE IS A POLITICAL LOGIC THERE

IF WE GET TO A POINT WHERE THERE IS ESCALATION QUITE QUICKLY BY BOTH SIDES, IT COULD BE LESS MEASURED AND LESS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED AND THAT WOULD LEAD TO AN ACCIDENTAL CONFLICT EVEN THOUGH BOTH LEADERS, PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE US AND INHABITING IRAN HAVE SAID PUBLICLY MANY TIMES THAT THEY DO NOT WANT A BIG RULER >> AND, SO, IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE IRAQIS WANT OUT OF ALL OF THIS, WHAT WOULD BE THE, YOU KNOW, THE IDEAL RESOLUTION OR RESULT FOR IRAQ? >> IT DEPENDS VERY MUCH ON WHICH IRAQI YOU ASK, AS OF OCTOBER OF LAST YEAR

CALLOUS IRAQIS, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, HAVE BEEN PROTESTING AGAINST THE IRAQI STATE AS THE POLITICAL PASSAGES NOT REPRESENTING THE VIEWS OF THEIR INTERESTS IN ADDITION TO CORRUPTION AND MISMANAGEMENT, THEY ARE BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE ALLIANCE ON IRAQ IT HAS NOT SHIFTED TO ACCOMMODATE THIS CLAIM THERE PROBABLY WILL BE SOME GOVERNMENT CHANGE IN 2020, SO IT DEPENDS WHICH IRAQI YOU ASK IF YES THE PRO IRAN GROUPS IN THE PARLIAMENT, THEY WOULD LIKELY USE IT TO EVICT AMERICA FROM IRAQ

THEY WILL SAY, YOU GUYS CO- LOCATE IN OUR BASES, YOU GUYS IN IRAN HAVE DRAMA, YOU GUYS HAVE A CONFLICT, AND IN SO DOING, ACTUALIZE AND IRAN A NATIONAL SECURITY, WHICH IS TO EVICT AMERICA FROM THE REGION >> OKAY, GREAT THANK YOU SO MUCH, PLEASE STAND BY IF YOU WILL LET'S BRING IN NOW, CATHERINE HERRIDGE AGAIN SHE IS A SENIOR AND BASKET OF CORRESPONDENT FOR CBS NEWS

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IS RESPONDING? >> WELL, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ISSUED A VERY PUBLIC AND DETAILED STATEMENT TONIGHT WHAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION IS THE LEVEL OF DETAIL, BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR FUTURE ACTION, IF THAT IS THE COURSE THAT THE ADMINISTRATION CHOOSES TO TAKE AND, IT STATES IN PART, A VERY SPECIFIC NUMBER ABOUT THE MISSILES INVOLVED IT SAYS MORE THAN A DOZEN BALLISTIC MISSILES AGAINST US

MILITARY AND COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ, AND THEN IT GOES THAT EXTRA STEP TO SAY THE SOURCE OF THE ATTACK, AND IT SAYS LAUNCHED FROM IRAN AND TARGETING AT LEAST TWO IRAQI MILITARY BASES AND THEN IT CONTINUES FURTHER ON, THE UNITED STATES WILL TAKE ALL NECESSARY MEASURES TO PROTECT AND DEFEND US PERSONAL PARTNERS AND ALLIES IN THE REGION SO, THAT IS A LOT OF SPECIFICITY IN A STATEMENT THAT SEEMS TO SET THE TABLE FOR A FUTURE RESPONSE, IF THAT IS THE DECISION THE ADMINISTRATION ULTIMATELY CHOOSES TO TAKE, BECAUSE IT PUTS THE OWNERSHIP AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ATTACKS, FIRMLY WITH IRAN, AND NOT ONE OF ITS PROXIES, NOT ONE OF ITS MILITIAS

AND, NOT ONE OF ITS ALLIES IN SYRIA NOW, IF WE JUST KIND OF GO BACK A LITTLE BIT TO THE OVAL OFFICE WITH THE PRESIDENT TODAY, IF YOU LOOK AT THE LANGUAGE VERY CAREFULLY, HE MAKES A NUMBER OF POINTS HE JUSTIFIES THE ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL SOLEIMANI, SAYING THAT HE WAS A HORRIBLE TERRORIST HE WAS SOMEONE WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE, KIND OF PIONEERED THE IDEA OF IED ATTACKS AND SUICIDE ATTACKS AGAINST OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND JUST AS AN ANECDOTE FOR YOUR FOLKS AT HOME, ONE OF MY CONTACTS WAS! TO ME THAT THERE WAS A LOT OF SORT OF SWEET IRONY IN THE FACT THAT GENERAL SOLEIMANI WAS KILLED ON THAT ROUTE COMING OUT OF BAGHDAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CALLED ROUTE IRISH

BECAUSE THIS IS SORT OF A FOUR- LANE HIGHWAY, IT IS VERY BROAD BUT IT WAS REALLY ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS STRETCHES OF ROAD DURING THE SURGE IN IRAQ AND, IT WAS A PLACE WHERE MANY US SERVICE PERSONNEL LOST LIMBS OR WERE KILLED BECAUSE OF THE STRATEGY THAT WAS REALLY PIONEERED BY GENERAL SOLEIMANI

AND THEN, ALSO, I JUST WANT TO AGAIN DRAW ATTENTION TO THE VERY SPECIFIC LANGUAGE THE PRESIDENT USED AT THAT NEWS CONFERENCE HE SAYS, QUOTE, "IF IRAN DOES ANYTHING THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE DOING, THEY'RE GOING TO BE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES AND VRY STRONGLY" SO, AVERY'S THE SINK, CAPITALIZATION IF YOU WILL, OF WHAT HIS BOTTOM LINE IS WHAT WE DON'T KNOW TONIGHT, AND I DO NOT WANT TO SPEAK AND WRITE ABOUT, IS WHETHER THE FIRING OF MORE THAN A DOZEN BALLISTIC MISSILES AT THESE TWO BASES THAT ARE USED BY THE US

, IRAQIS, AND I BELIEVE EVEN OTHERS, CONSTITUTES THE CROSSING OF THAT RED LINE BUT WE KNOW, THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN MEETING WITH HIS NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, SO HIS CLOSEST ADVISERS TO MAKE AN ASSESSMENT OF WHAT HAPPENED THIS EVENING AND WHAT THE FOLLOW-ON WOULD BE FOR THE UNITED STATES >> AND, IN THE EVENT THAT US LIVES WERE LOST IN THESE ATTACKS, AT THIS POINT, PROBABLY THE PENTAGON KNOWS THIS INFORMATION, I WOULD IMAGINE

>> YES, I THINK THAT IS A FAIR ASSESSMENT >> AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, IT WILL HAVE TO BE RELEASED EVENTUALLY THAT WILL BE INFORMATION REGARDING THE DAMAGE DONE BY THESE ATTACKS THE FURTHER AMMUNITION, AS IT WERE, FOR THE IRAQI REGIME TO SORT OF QUOTE TO THEIR PEOPLE? >> I THINK YOU MAKE A VERY VALID OBSERVATION NOTHING IS A SECRET IN THE AGE THAT WE WORK IN NOW, EVERYTHING IS ON TWITTER OR ON THE WEB IN SECONDS

SO WE ARE GOING TO KNOW PRETTY QUICKLY, AS WE HEAD INTO MORNING LIGHT IN IRAQ, THE NATURE AND THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE AT THESE SITES, BECAUSE OF THE IRANIAN ATTACK AND WE WILL ALSO GET A MUCH BETTER SENSE OF WHETHER ANY INDIVIDUALS WERE INJURED IN A MINOR WAY OR A MORE SERIOUS WAY, OR WHETHER THERE WERE ANY FATALITIES WE DON'T HAVE ANY INDICATION OF THAT THIS EVENING, I WANT TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR BUT, ANY OF THOSE DETAILS, OF COURSE, GO TO THE BROADER FABRIC OF WHAT KIND OF DECISION THE US

WILL TAKE WHEN IT DECIDES TO RESPOND OBVIOUSLY, THE MORE AGGRAVATING THESE FACTORS ARE, THE MORE IT MAKES THE CASE FOR A RESPONSE BUT BEFORE THE ATTACK THIS EVENING, SECRETARY ESPER, AGAIN, WE TALKED ABOUT THIS A FEW MINUTES AGO, SECRETARY ESPER SAID THE US WAS OPEN TO A DIALOGUE WITH IRAN AND DE- ESCALATION

AND THAT IS NOT A WORD THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE USES LIGHTLY SO, TO SAY THE LEAST AND, HE SAID THE ONUS WAS ON IRAN, WHICH I FELT WAS A VERY CLEAR WAY OF TELEGRAPHING THAT THE UNITED STATES FELT THE BALL WAS IN IRAN'S COURT TO USE IT CLICHC AND THEY WERE GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MAIN DECISION- MAKERS OVER HOW THINGS WOULD TRANSPIRE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS BUT, ONE OF MY CONTACTS WHO WORKS WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE CAUTIONED THIS EVENING THAT THE IRANIANS ARE EXTREMELY SMART AND THEY ARE EXTREMELY STRATEGIC, AND THEY ARE ALSO EXTREMELY PATIENT YOU KNOW, THERE IS A PHRASE IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD THAT WE HAVE WATCHES BUT THEY HAVE TIME

RIGHT? YOU KNOW, SO THEY ARE EXTERNALLY PATIENT I DON'T WANT TO MAKE LIGHT OF THAT, BUT THEY ARE VERY SMART THAT WAY AND MY CONTACTS SENSE WAS THAT SIGNIFICANT RETALIATION BY THE IRANIANS MAY NOT COME UNTIL SOME FUTURE DATE IT MAY NOT BE IMMEDIATE >> IF THAT STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ESPER WAS MEANT TO BE AN OLIVE BRANCH OF SORTS, IT WAS CERTAINLY NOT TAKEN IS THAT

BY THE IRANIANS HAS THERE BEEN ANY REPORTING THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF THAT IN THOSE STATEMENTS, THOSE DOMESTIC STATEMENTS THAT YOU REFERENCED EARLIER FROM THE IRANIAN REGIME TO THE PEOPLE OF IRAN, YOU KNOW, DISCUSSING THE NATURE OF THIS RETALIATION, WAS THERE ANY STATEMENT OR LANGUAGE IN IT THAT INDICATED THAT PERHAPS FOR THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT THIS COULD BE THE ONLY RETALIATION NECESSARY? >> LET ME JUST TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE LANGUAGE, AGAIN THAT STATEMENT FROM THE IRGC, WHICH IS IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD COUNSEL, WHICH IS SORT OF THE UMBRELLA GROUP OVER THE MILITARY, SAYS QUOTE, THE BRAVE SOLDIERS OF THE AEROSPACE UNIT HAVE LAUNCHED A SUCCESSFUL ATTACK WITH TENS OF BALLISTIC MISSILES THAT IS AN INFLATED NUMBER BASED ON WHAT WE KNOW FROM THE PENTAGON AN AL ASAD MILITARY BASE, THEY ARE ELEVATING SOLEIMANI'S STATUS AND SAYING VERY SUBTLE SPECIFICALLY, IT WAS IN HIS NAME AND IN RESPONSE TO HIS KILLING LAST WEEK BY THE UNITED STATES

COUPLE THAT WITH THE FACT THE PENTAGON HAS PUBLICLY SAID THESE MISSILES WERE LAUNCHED FROM IRAN, AGAIN, NOT FROM A PROXY, NOT BY A MILITIA, NOT BY THE SYRIANS, BUT FROM IRANIAN TERRITORY THAT REALLY UPS THE ANTE THERE IN MY EXPERIENCE, I WORKED OVERSEAS FOR NUMBER OF YEARS, YOU HAVE TO TAKE THESE PUBLIC STATEMENTS FROM THE IRANIANS REALLY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT IN THE SENSE THAT SO MUCH OF THAT IS MEANT ALSO FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION YOU KNOW, THE KIND OF, WE ARE PUNCHING BACK AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH THEY DID THIS EVENING, LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT THAT

THEY DID PUNCH BACK IN A VERY SIGNIFICANT WAY WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW, AND I DON'T REALLY WISH TO SPECULATE ON, IS WHETHER THAT WILL BE ENOUGH FOR THE UNITED STATES TO FURTHER ESCALATE THE TENSIONS IN THE GULF >> CATHERINE HERRIDGE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT I BELIEVE WE STILL HAVE BENHAM BEN TALEBLU AND OLIVIA GAZIS STANDING BY BENHAM BEN TALEBLU, I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT WHAT CATHERINE WAS REFERENCING EARLIER, THIS STATEMENT FROM SECRETARY ESPER BEFORE THESE ATTACKS THAT SUGGESTED THAT, YOU KNOW, THE U

S WAS HOPING TO DE-ESCALATE THINGS, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY WERE OPENING A PATH TO DIALOGUE HOW LIKELY WOULD IT BE THAT THE IRANIANS WOULD ACCEPT THAT PATH ? >> YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A FEW TIMES IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC WHERE THEY HAVE DONE A 180 AND A KEY NATIONAL SECURITY PREROGATIVE AND THE IRANIANS CAN ACCEPT DIALOGUE BUT THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THEY DO THAT IS IMPERATIVE TO NOTE, BECAUSE PRESSURE HAS TO BUILD AND BUILD AND BUILD AND THEN ONLY WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE GOT THEIR BACK AGAINST THE WALL, THEY ARE OFFERED AND OFFER THEM, THEN THEY WILL LOOK FOR IT AND TAKE IT

THAT IS SOMEWHAT LIKE HEAVY IRAN/IRAQ WAR THAT IS HOW IT WAS AND DID I LIKE AND SO MUCH OF THE MAX PRESSURE CAMPAIGN OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO A LOT OF THE MORE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND EVEN SOME OF THE MILITARY CONDITIONS THAT EXISTED DURING THAT WAR THAT REMAINS IN THE HISTORY OF THE UBER REPUBLIC AND, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP OFFERING IRAN PUBLICLY, A LOT OF THESE OFF ROOMS

YOU KNOW, IN WASHINGTON, IT MAY NOT BE FASHIONABLE TO LOOK AT THE WAY THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN TWEETING ABOUT IRAN, NOT RECENTLY BUT IN 2018, WHEN THE SANCTIONS WERE BEING RESTORED, BECAUSE AS HE WAS RESTORING SANCTIONS, HE KEPT SAYING I WOULD LIKE TO MIRROR HONEY WHILE HE WAS CRITICIZED BY THE PRESIDENTS RIGHT FLANK, INSIDE IRAN, THAT WAS SEEN AS A POSITIVE BECAUSE THE IRANIAN PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO THEN CHASTISE THEIR OWN LEADERS AND SAY, YOU'RE NOT EVEN DOING WHAT NORTH KOREA DID ARE NOT EVEN SITTING DOWN WITH WASHINGTON WHERE YOU SO IDEOLOGICAL? WHERE ARE YOU DOING THINGS TO CAUSE MORE PAIN FOR US? AND THAT CREATED A DOMESTIC SOURCE OF PRESSURE THAT WAS THE REGIME'S MAXIMUM PRESSURE POLICY

AGAIN, IRAN NEGOTIATES VERY RARELY, EARNESTLY, BUT ONLY UNDER CONDITIONS OF MASSIVE PRESSURE NOW IRAN IS FEELING OFFENDED IT IS FEELING LIKE IT GOT A MAJOR WICCAN AGAINST THE UNITED STATES ACROSS THE RED LINE, AS THE PRESIDENT SAID ON TWITTER IT DID HAVE SOMEWHAT OF ESCALATION AGAINST U

S INTERESTS AND ALLY INTERESTS AND ASSET AND SECURITY IN THE PERSIAN GULF BUT THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN THE OFFRAMP YET ONE WONDERS IF THEY ARE GOING TO FEEL EMPOWERED, IF THE US

DOESN'T RESPOND, OR IF THEY ARE GOING TO FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE GOTTEN THE MESSAGE IN AND THEY ARE WILLING TO OBSERVE THE REST OF AMERICA'S ESCALATION, WHICH COULD BE SANCTIONED, COULD BE COVERT, COULD BE PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, WHO KNOWS BUT THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE TELLS ME IT IS NOT THE US LOOKING TO RUSH TO WAR THE U

S IS STILL BEING VERY JUDICIOUS HERE >> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT WE HAVE TEAM COVERAGE HERE LET'S BRING IN CBS'S NATALIE BRAND, CBS NEWS SENIOR INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT CATHERINE HERRIDGE, AND CBS NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, IAN LEE

HE IS IN IRAQ SO, IAN, LET ME START WITH YOU YOU ARE ON THE GROUND THERE CAN YOU TELL US, WHAT IS THE LATEST? WHAT TIME IS IT THERE, FIRST OF ALL? >> RIGHT NOW, IT IS JUST GETTING TO BE ABOUT 5:30 IN THE MORNING THIS ATTACK HAPPENED ABOUT FOUR HOURS AGO, WE HEARD IT, WITH THE TWO EXPLOSIONS HERE

AFTER THAT, WE ALSO HEARD HOW HELICOPTERS IN THE SKY, AND JUST A LITTLE WHILE AGO, WE ALSO HEARD A FIGHTER JET OVER HEAD SO, IT IS STILL FAIRLY TENSE HERE WE — UNDERSTAND, THESE TWO MISSILES LANDED NORTH OF THE US CONSULATE, AWAY FROM THE U

S MILITARY PRESENCE HERE, WE HAVE NOT HEARD OF ANY CASUALTIES WE HAD A TEAM THAT WENT BY THE CONSULATE TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANY ACTION THERE, IT SEEMED FAIRLY CALM, FROM WHAT WE COULD SEE SO RIGHT NOW, THERE IS JUST A LOT OF ANTICIPATION OF, IS THIS OVER? OR IS THERE GOING TO BE ANOTHER ROUND THAT IS GOING TO BE IN COMING? RIGHT NOW, REALLY NO ONE KNOWS >> HAS SECURITY THERE BEEN BEEFED UP? WERE THESE ATTACKS ANTICIPATED AT ALL? >> WE HAVE HEARD STATEMENTS FROM THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, WE HEARD THEM FROM MALICIOUS HERE IN IRAQ, THAT THEY ARE GOING TO RETALIATE, THEY ARE GOING TO RETALIATE WITH VENGEANCE, AMERICANS WERE ANTICIPATING THIS, BUT WHAT IS INTERESTING IS A FEW DAYS AGO, WE HEARD FROM ONE OF THE IRAQI MILITIAS THAT WARNED IRAQI SOLDIERS AROUND THESE BASES TO STAY A KILOMETER AWAY

SO, A LITTLE OVER A MILE AWAY FROM THE US MILITARY PRESENCE NOW, WAS THAT A WARNING THAT THE IRANIANS WERE GOING TO STRIKE OR WAS THAT ANOTHER WARNING? THAT WAS THE WARNING THAT SOMETHING LOOKED TO BE COMING DOWN THE LINE SO, THAT COULD BE PART OF IT ALSO

SOMETHING ELSE OF THAT IS INTERESTING THAT WE ARE HEARING, IS A DIFFERENCE IN NUMBERS THE IRANIANS ARE SAYING THAT TENS OF MISSILES WERE FIRED, AMERICANS ARE SAYING A LITTLE OVER A DOZEN I WAS IN SAUDI ARABIA WHEN THE OIL REFINERY WAS HIT, AND SOMETHING THAT WE SAW, THAT THE SAUDI'S SHOWED US, WAS THAT SOME OF THESE MUNITIONS THAT WERE FIRED WERE DUDS THEY FELL IN THE DESERT, THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT AS FAR AND SO, POSSIBLY, THAT IS ONE THEORY, WHY THESE NUMBERS ARE NOT MATCHING, IS THAT MAY BE A NUMBER OF THESE ROCKETS THAT WERE FIRED WERE DUDS THAT LANDED IN THE DESERT

SOMETHING THEY WILL PROBABLY BE LOOKING IN THE DESERT TO SEE, IF THERE ARE ANY THAT JUST FELL SHORT OF THEIR TARGET >> ALL RIGHT, IAN LEE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REPORTING FOR US FROM IRAQ THANK YOU SO MUCH >>> AND, NATALIE BRAND, I WANT TO GO TO YOUR NEXT HOW IS CAPITOL HILL REACTING TO THE NEWS? WE UNDERSTAND THAT SEVERAL LIE MAKERS HAVE BEEN BRIEFED, IS THAT CORRECT? >> THAT IS RIGHT

THAT DEMOCRATIC LEADERS WERE CALLED BY THE VICE PRESIDENT, THAT MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER AND THE SENATE AND HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, OUR HILL PRODUCER REBECCA KAPLAN REPORTS THAT SPEAKER PELOSI ACTUALLY FOUND OUT WHEN SHE WAS HANDED A NOTE DURING A REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING, AND SHE TOLD MEMBERS IN THAT MEETING TO PRAY WE KNOW THAT FOLLOWING THAT, SHE DID HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT NOW, MINORITY LEADER ON THE HOUSE SIDE, KEVIN McCARTHY, SAYS HE SPOKE TO THE PRESIDENT, ACCORDING TO AN AIDE WE STILL DON'T EXACTLY KNOW WHAT LAWMAKERS KNOW DETAIL WAS ABOUT THIS ATTACK, AND OF COURSE, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS HERE IN THE WHITE HOUSE CLOSELY MONITORING THIS VERY FLUID SITUATION BUT, ACROSS ALL SIDES, THE MAIN MESSAGE HERE IS THE FIRST AND IMMEDIATE CONCERN, IS FOR U

S TROOPS IN THE REGION AND OF COURSE, COALITION PARTNERS >> NATALIE BRAND ON CAPITOL HILL, THANK YOU SO MUCH AND, CATHERINE, WHAT MORE DO WE KNOW ABOUT HOW THE ADMINISTRATION IS RESPONDING? >> WELL, WE HAVE HAD INFORMATION FROM WHAT HAS THIS EVENING THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS REMAINED ENGAGED AND HAS MET WITH HIS NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, THE SECRETARY OF STATE, HIS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, AS WELL AS THE DEFENSE SECRETARY

AND WE HAVE HEARD PUBLICLY FROM THE DEFENSE SECRETARY AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE EARLIER TODAY THE DEFENSE SECRETARY WAS VERY CLEAR ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE INTELLIGENCE THEY HAD, AND IN HIS VIEW, HOW IT POINTED TO AN TARGETING US INTERESTS IN THE REGION ASKED HOW IMMINENT IT WAS, HE SAID IT WAS FAIR TO SAY IT WAS DAYS AND NOT WEEKS AWAY

HE ALSO SAID, AND THIS WAS NEW INFORMATION, THE GENERAL SOLEIMANI WAS IN BAGHDAD REMEMBER, HE HAD BEEN TRAVELING REGIONALLY, HE HAD BEEN TO BEIRUT, TO DAMASCUS, THEN HE HAD COMMENTED BAGHDAD VERY LATE AT NIGHT, INTO THE EARLY HOURS OF FRIDAY AND THAT IS WHEN HE WAS TARGETED AND SECRETARY ESPER SAID THAT SOLEIMANI WAS IN BAGHDAD , HIS WORDS, TO QUOTE, "COURTNEY ATTACKS IN THE AREA" SO, HE WAS TAKING A VERY ACTIVE ROLE IN THIS PLOT

AND THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH INFORMATION WE HAD HERE AT CBS NEWS, FROM A SENIOR US GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL, WHEN THE STRIKE HAPPENED LAST WEEK THEY SAID SOLEIMANI WAS PERSONALLY OVERSEEING AND STEERING AN ACTIVE PLOT AGAINST US

INTERESTS IN THE REGION JUST SORT OF A FINAL FOOTNOTE, ONE OF THE THINGS I LEARNED THROUGH MY REPORTING TODAY IS THAT AFTER THE SOLEIMANI STRIKE, THERE WAS WHAT IS CALLED IN INTELLIGENCE CIRCLES, A SPIKE IN THE CHATTER AND WHAT THAT MEANS, IS THAT WHEN YOU HAVE OPERATIVES WHO ARE IN THIS CASE, ALIGNED WITH THE IRANIANS OR GENERAL SOLEIMANI , OR THE MILITIAS, OR IN SYRIA OR IN LEBANON, THEY GET ON THEIR PHONES, THEY GET ON THEIR COMPUTERS, THEY START TEXT MESSAGING, THEY ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA I MEAN, THERE COMES NETWORKS REALLY LIGHT UP AND THAT IS WHAT THEY CALL A SPIKE IN THE CHATTER AND THIS IS ALMOST, IN SOME WAYS, A REAL GIFT FOR INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS THEM TO SCOOP UP THAT INFORMATION AND START TO IDENTIFY NEW POTENTIAL LEADS

AND I JUST CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH, HOW GOOD THE US MILITARY IS, AS WELL AS THE SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE PEOPLE, AS WELL AS THE SPECIAL OPERATORS, AT IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF THOSE COMMUNICATIONS, AND THEN REALLY, LATCHING INTO IT, AND NOT LETTING GO OF IT UNTIL THEY DECIDE IT IS A TARGET, OR IT IS NOT A TARGET AND WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE AND THOSE STEPS, THAT IS REALLY WHAT WE SAW WITH GENERAL SOLEIMANI LAST WEEK

WE WERE ON HIM FOR SEVERAL DAYS, AS HE TRAVELED IN THE REGION THEN HE CAME INTO BAGHDAD AND THAT WAS THE MOMENT THAT THE ADMINISTRATION DECIDED TO TAKE THAT STRIKE IT WAS DESCRIBED TO ME AS A CLEAN SHOT >> WITH ALSO BRING IN CBS WHITE HOUSE NEWS CORRESPONDENT, WEIJIA JIANG WHAT IS THE LATEST YOU CAN TELL IS COMING OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE? >> WE KNOW THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS HUDDLED HERE IN THE SITUATION ROOM WITH HIS NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, ALONG WITH THE PRICE PRESIDENT

BUT SO FAR WE HAVE NOT HEARD FROM THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF ABOUT THESE IRANIAN ATTACKS BECAUSE ON THE ONE HAND, OF COURSE, IT WOULD TAKE LONGER THAN JUST A MATTER OF HOURS FOR HIM TO DECIDE HIS NEXT MOVE, WITH HIS TEAM, AND THEN ANNOUNCE IT TO THE COUNTRY ON THE ROAD BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU KNOW, THEY WERE ANTICIPATING THIS OFFICIALS CAME OUT TODAY AND SAID THEY KNEW THAT IRAN WAS PROBABLY GOING TO RETALIATE IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER, AND THAT THE U

S WOULD BE READY TO RESPOND APPROPRIATELY PRESIDENT TRUMP DID SAY EARLIER TODAY, THAT IF IRAN DOES ANYTHING THAT THEY SHOULDN'T BE DOING, THEY ARE GOING TO BE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES, AND VERY STRONGLY OF COURSE, WHAT EXACTLY HE MEANS RIGHT NOW IS THE ANSWER THAT EVERYBODY IS WAITING FOR BECAUSE, AS DEMOCRATS ALREADY POINTED OUT ON CAPITOL HILL, THAT WILL DETERMINE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN IRAN AND WHETHER THIS WILL CONTINUE TO ESCALATE AND HOW SERIOUS IT COULD BECOME

BUT CERTAINLY ALREADY, THESE CONSEQUENCES ARE POTENTIALLY DIRE AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ARE PUBLICLY VOICING THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT THIS MEANS AS FOR THE PRESIDENT, AGAIN, WE ARE CLOSELY MONITORING HIS TWITTER FEED, BECAUSE OFTEN, THAT IS HOW HE ANNOUNCES DRAMATIC FOREIGN-POLICY ANNOUNCEMENTS, DRAMATIC MOVES THAT HE PLANS TO MAKE NOTHING AT ALL, SO I THINK THAT IS A GOOD INDICATION THAT THEY ARE VERY CAREFULLY CALCULATING WHAT HAPPENS NEXT >> ABSOLUTELY ANYTIME THE PRESIDENT IS NOT TWEETING, IT IS SIGNIFICANT

ARE DEMOCRATS LIKELY TO BE CONSULTED ON THE RESPONSE HERE? I MEAN, WE KNOW THAT THEY WERE VERY UPSET ABOUT NOT BEING TOLD OR CONSULTED ABOUT THE ATTACK ON SOLEIMANI BEFORE IT HAPPENED IS THERE A CHANCE THAT THEY WILL DEMAND TO HAVE A SAY IN HOW THIS ATTACK IS RESPONDED TO? >> YOU KNOW, LUCKY FOR THEM, THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE THOSE CONCERNS, BECAUSE TOMORROW, THE WHITE HOUSE IS SET TO BRIEF THE FULL HOUSE AND SENATE ON THE SOLEIMANI STRIKE YOU CAN BET THOSE LAWMAKERS WILL BE BRINGING UP WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AS WELL WE KNOW THAT HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI WAS ALREADY PLANNING TO TAKE A VOTE ON A RESOLUTION TO LIMIT THE PRESIDENT'S MILITARY ACTIONS AGAINST IRAN THAT WAS OUT OF FEAR OF WHAT DOING SOMETHING WOULD MEAN WITH REGARD TO A POTENTIAL WAR

AND SO, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS TRIED TO TAMP DOWN THOSE FEARS, THE PRESIDENT SAYING, MANY TIMES THIS WEEK ALONE, THAT THE WORLD IS NOW A SAFER PLACE, THAT AMERICANS ARE SAFER BUT, THAT COMES AT A COST, AS WE ARE SEEING NOW AND IT IS TOO EARLY TO SAY HOW HIGH THAT COST IS, AND WHETHER THERE WILL BE OTHER STRIKES AGAINST THE US AS WELL, AND SO THESE ARE CONCERNS THAT DEMOCRATS WILL BE BRINGING TO THE WHITE HOUSE

AND, WE WILL JUST HAVE TO SEE WHAT THE PRESIDENT DECIDES >> CATHERINE, WHAT OTHER TYPES OF RESPONSES COULD BE POSSIBLE HERE? OTHER THAN A CONVENTIONAL MILITARY RETALIATION? >> A CONCEPT THAT PEOPLE TALK A LOT ABOUT IN MILITARY CIRCLES, IS CALLED THE GRAY ZONE THIS IS THE BATTLE SPACE BETWEEN PEACE AND CONVENTIONAL WARFARE AND THAT IS WHEN YOU HAVE IN YOUR ARSENAL, THINGS LIKE CYBER ATTACKS, WHERE ATTRIBUTION IS SO DIFFICULT SO, WE THINK ABOUT A RESPONSE FROM THE UNITED STATES IN TERMS OF WHAT HAPPENED THIS EVENING WITH IRAN, AND A VERY CONVENTIONAL WAY

BUT I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT IT IN A SLIGHTLY MORE IMAGINATIVE WAY, BECAUSE IN THESE SCENARIOS, MY CONTACTS ALWAYS SAY THAT STUFF IS Y■OUR FRIEND AND THAT NOT BEING ABLE TO MAKE A FIRM ATTRIBUTION TO A RESPONSE ALSO IS YOUR FRIEND THE WEATHER COMES THROUGH THE UNITED STATES OR WHETHER COMES THROUGH ONE OF OUR ALLIES IN THE REGION'S AND AS YOU KNOW FOR COVERING THIS AREA FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, THE US AND ITS ALLIES HAVE USED CYBER TECHNIQUES TO REALLY GO AT THE HEART OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM IN THE PAST

THAT IS NOT A NEW IDEA SO THE IDEA I WOULD LEAVE FOLKS AT HOME WITH TODAY, IS TO START THINKING ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF THE GRAY ZONE AGAIN, IT IS THAT BATTLE SPACE BETWEEN PEACE AND CONVENTIONAL WARFARE, AND UNFORTUNATELY IT IS A BATTLE SPACE WHERE NATIONSTATES ARE SORT OF ON THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WITH BAD ACTORS, BECAUSE OF ISSUES OF ATTRIBUTION, THE USE OF CYBER, AND THE LIKE BUT, STEALTH IS YOUR FRIEND IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS, AND I DO NOT WANT TO READ TOO MUCH INTO THE LACK OF INFORMATION WE HAVE HAD FROM THE WHITE HOUSE ABOUT THE CASUALTIES AND THE SCOPE OF THE DAMAGE, BUT AGAIN, STEALTH AND A LITTLE BIT OF MYSTERY IS A FRIEND IN THIS SITUATION >> SURE, WE ALL REMEMBER STOCKS NET

AND THAT CYBER ATTACK WHICH RESULTED ACTUALLY IN PHYSICAL EXPLOSIONS >> IF I COULD, THAT RAISES, THOUGH, A WHOLE SORT OF HOST OF, A SORT OF LARGER ETHICAL ISSUE IT IS LIKE, WHEN DOES A CYBER ATTACK REALLY CROSSED THE LINE TO BECOME AN ACTIVE WAR? PART OF THAT DISCUSSION HAS BEEN, DOES A CYBER ATTACK JUST WIPE SYSTEMS OF DATA? OR IN THE CASE OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM, WHEN IT CAUSES PHYSICAL DAMAGE, TO THE STRUCTURE OF AN OPERATION? DOES THAT — OR LIKE SUNNY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, IS ACTUALLY AN ACT OF WAR? SO, CYBER IS APPEALING IN MANY WAYS BUT IT ALSO RAISES A WHOLE HOST OF ETHICAL QUESTIONS AS TO WHERE YOU CROSS THE LINE INTO AN UNCONVENTIONAL ATTACK TO AN ACTIVE WAR >> OBSOLETE CATHERINE HERRIDGE, THANK YOU SO MUCH

LET'S WELCOME DAVID MARTIN AND OFF-CAMERA BRIEFING WITH THE PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON JUST WRAPPED UP DAVID, WHAT DID YOU LEARN? >> WELL, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT THE BACKGROUNDER FROM HIS DEFENSE OFFICIAL WAS VERY UNINFORMATIVE IT DID NOT REALLY TELL US ANYMORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT IS CERTAINLY THAT DID NOT TELL US WITH THE DAMAGE DONE BY THESE MISSILES WAS, IF ANY

THAT IS SOMETHING WE ARE NOT LIKELY TO FIND OUT ABOUT UNTIL TOMORROW MORNING WE DID GET SOME MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT DEFENSE SECRETARY ESPER WAS DOING THIS AFTERNOON AND THIS EVENING BOTH HE AND GENERAL MOLLY, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, WHERE HERE IN THE PENTAGON WHEN THE ATTACK OCCURRED AND THEN, WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO BRIEF THE PRESIDENT, AND THEN CAME BACK AND THEY HAVE HAD A NUMBER OF MEETINGS THAT THE ENTIRE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF MET WITH THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND OTHER OFFICIALS IN THIS BUILDING MADE CALLS TO ALL OF THE REGIONAL ALLIES, THOSE WOULD BE THE ARAB COUNTRIES IN THE REGION

AND TO ALL THE TRADITIONAL NATO ALLIES OF THE US, TO GIVE THEM A BRIEFING AND THEN OF COURSE, THERE IS THE QUESTION THAT EVERYBODY WANTS AN ANSWER TO, WHAT WILL BE THE AMERICAN RESPONSE TO THIS ATTACK? AND THE ANSWER TO THAT WAS, I AM NOT GOING TO FORECAST ANY RESPONSE SO, OTHER THAN THE WHEREABOUTS AND THE ACTIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS, THIS BACKGROUNDER FROM THE DEFENSE OFFICIAL DID NOT REALLY ADD ANYTHING TO WHAT WE KNEW

>> ALL RIGHT, DAVID MARTIN AT THE PENTAGON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT UPDATE >> SURE THING >> LET'S BRING BACK IN, NATALIE BRAND ON CAPITOL HILL NATALIE, YOU'RE GETTING SOME MORE INFORMATION ON LAWMAKER REACTION? >> REACTION IS BEGINNING TO TRICKLE IN ACROSS THE LAWMAKERS, STILL ON THE CAPITAL SPEAKING BEFORE CAMERAS TONIGHT

LET ME READ YOU SOME OF WHAT THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ELIOT ENGEL, DEMOCRAT OF NEW YORK SAID HE, OF COURSE, THE FIRST CONCERN IS WITH US TROOPS, AND PRAYERS THAT THERE WERE NO CASUALTIES THIS IS A VERY FLUID SITUATION, WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT LAWMAKERS KNOW AT THIS POINT

BUT, REALLY, HE SAID THAT WE NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A STRATEGY, AND THERE IS A LOT OF CONCERN THAT THIS COULD SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL VERY, VERY QUICKLY THIS IS SOMETHING THAT DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS ON THE HILL HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR IN THE DAYS SINCE THE US STRIKE, TARGETING IRANIAN GENERAL SOLEIMANI WHAT IS THE STRATEGY MOVING FORWARD TO TRY TO DE-ESCALATE THE SITUATION? AND, AROUND THE TIME, OR I GUESS IN THE HOURS BEFORE WE HEARD ABOUT THIS ATTACK, KEEP IN MIND THAT CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS WERE BEING BRIEFED, THE SO-CALLED GANG OF EIGHT, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND ALSO THE LEADERS OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES, OR RECEIVING A BRIEFING ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE LEADING UP TO A STRIKE

AND THEN A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER, WE HEARD ABOUT THIS NEW ATTACK SO, OBVIOUSLY THERE IS STILL A LOT OF QUESTIONS WE HAVE ALSO HEARD FROM SOME REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS WHO ARE ECHOING SOME OF THE STATEMENTS THAT HAVE COME FROM TOP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS THAT THE US

IS NOT SEEKING WAR WITH IRAN, BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT REALLY IS UP TO THEM SENATOR KENNEDY, REPUBLICAN FROM LOUISIANA, SAID WE DO NOT WANT WAR ALL WE WANT, IT IS VERY SIMPLE WHAT WE WANT, STOP TRYING TO KILL US SO, AT THIS POINT, OBVIOUSLY, A VERY FLUID SITUATION, AND AS LAWMAKERS LEARN MORE, THEY WILL BUT THE BIG QUESTION HERE ON THE HILL, IS, WHAT IS THE STRATEGY GOING FORWARD? HOW DO YOU DE-ESCALATE THIS SITUATION? THAT IS SOMETHING THAT LAWMAKERS WILL BE TALKING ABOUT IN THE COMING HOURS AND DAYS >> NATALIE BRAND, CATHERINE HERRIDGE, AND WEIJIA JIANG

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU >>> WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A QUICK BREAK NOW WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK WITH MUCH MORE CBSN THANKS, STAY WITH US

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