Esper says he’s seen no hard evidence embassies under threat

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, listens as President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper explicitly says he’s seen no hard evidence that four American embassies had been under possible threat when President Donald Trump authorized the targeting of Iran’s top commander. Esper’s comments in Sunday television interviews raises questions about the scale of the threat described by Trump last week. As the administration struggled with its justification for the drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Esper and members of Trump’s national security team are trying to refocus attention on voices of dissent inside Iran.