On Sunday, the National Security Council announced that the U.S. was sending a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf in response to “troubling and escalatory” warnings from Iran –– an eye-popping move that raised fears of a potential military confrontation with Tehran. Justifying the move, anonymous government officials cited intelligence indicating Iran had crafted plans to use proxies to strike U.S. forces off the coast of Yemen and stationed in Iraq. National Security Adviser John Bolton also discussed the intelligence on the record. A consensus appeared to be emerging: that Iran was gearing up for war.
But multiple sources close to the situation told The Daily Beast that the administration blew it out of proportion, characterizing the threat as more significant than it actually was.
“It’s not that the administration is mischaracterizing the intelligence, so much as overreacting to it,” said one U.S. government official briefed on it.