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Following criticism over the timing of US military action in the Middle East, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan defended the White House’s response.

Responding to House Speaker Mike Johnson’s critique that the Biden administration delayed its response to an attack on US troops in Jordan, Sullivan remarked on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” “Well, I find it somewhat strange. The president made clear before we were attacked at Tower 22 in Jordan, before our brave services members were tragically killed, that if we were attacked, we would respond. So, Iran and its military groups knew that the United States was going to respond. We also said we’d do it at a time and place of our choosing. We planned the attack. We executed the attack.”

This comes after Johnson expressed disappointment in the administration’s week-long wait to retaliate, suggesting it gave Iran insight into US plans. In contrast, Sullivan emphasized that the strikes were carried out precisely as intended, “We hit where we wanted to hit, when we wanted to hit and that was at the military advice of the president’s commanders and he gave them the order to go ahead and do it.”

The Pentagon reported that the initial round of strikes hit over 85 targets associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and affiliated militia groups, a move Sullivan asserts had a “good effect and degrading capability” on these entities. Looking ahead, Sullivan confirmed the US’s intention to maintain pressure, stating, “It began with strikes on Friday night but that is not the end of it. We intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that the United States will respond when our forces are attacked, or people are killed.”


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