National security spokesperson apologizes for saying Iraq was informed of airstrike

 February 7, 2024

The Hill reported that White House national security spokesperson John Kirby issued an apology on Tuesday for remarks he made the previous day. 

At issue was a series of airstrikes that the Biden administration launched against Iranian-backed militants in Iraq and Syria.

Kirby mistakenly said that Iraq was given heads up regarding airstrikes

The move was taken in response to a drone attack last week on American troops stationed in Jordan which left three soldiers dead and another 25 injured.

Kirby told reporters on Monday that the government of Iraq was given an advanced notice of the strike, a statement he later retracted.

"I deeply apologize for the error, and I regret any confusion that it caused," The Hill quoted Kirby as saying. "It was based on information we had or that was provided to me in those early hours after the strikes.

"Turns out that information was incorrect. And I certainly regret the error," he continued, adding that there was "no ill-intent behind" behind his word and "no deliberate intent to deceive."

Kirby: "I deeply regret the mistake that I made"

"I take those responsibilities very, very seriously," the national security spokesperson stressed. "And I deeply regret the mistake that I made."

The Hill noted that Kirby's earlier remarks were contradicted by State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel, who told reporters, "There was no pre-notification."

"Iraq, like every country in the region, understood that there would be a response after the deaths of our soldiers," Patel insisted.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported that President Joe Biden sent a formal notification to Congress concerning the airstrikes.

Biden cites 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force

"The strikes have been taken to deter the IRGC and affiliated militia groups from conducting or supporting further attacks on United States personnel and facilities and have been conducted in a manner designed to limit the risk of escalation and avoid civilian casualties," Biden wrote.

"I directed the strikes in order to protect and defend our personnel and assets who are in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan conducting military operations pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40)," the president continued.

"The strikes are intended to degrade and disrupt the ongoing series of attacks against the United States and our partners," Biden declared.

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