Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wont attend a congressional hearing on the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
Soleimani, a terrorist who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, was taken out by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding the congressional hearing on Jan. 14. Engel invited Pompeo to testify along with a panel of experts on Iran policy.
Engel said in a statement Jan. 13 that Pompeo wouldnt be appearing.
“Im disappointed and frustrated that Secretary Pompeo will not appear before the committee tomorrow. Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani. Was there really an imminent threat? Was it part of a larger operation? What was the legal justification? What is the path forward?” Engel said.
“With the wildly muddled explanations coming from the administration, the Secretary should welcome the opportunity to make the case and answer questions before the American people. The committee expects to hear from him soon.”
The State Department didnt immediately return a request by The Epoch Times for comment. Neither the department nor Pompeo have confirmed that he wont attend.
U.S. officials said they learned that Soleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, was planning “imminent attacks” on U.S. interests, including U.S. embassies. President Donald Trump, who ordered the airstrike, said Soleimani was planning to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was recently attacked by Iran-backed proxy groups.
Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at multiple bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, but no Americans or Iraqis were killed or wounded in the attacks. Trump said the Iranians were “standing down” and urged them to come to a peace agreement.
Officials have defended the decision to target Soleimani after some lawmakers walked away from classified briefings about the strike unimpressed with the rationale behind the killing.