A recent audio recording has surfaced, shedding light on former President Donald Trump’s possession of classified plans for a potential war with Iran after leaving office. What makes this revelation significant is Trump’s steadfast refusal to succumb to pressure and initiate a conflict that Washington has pursued for decades.
The audio, obtained by US media, features a conversation between Trump and his aides, where prosecutors allege he shared classified files. Although recorded in the summer of 2021, this conversation was previously reported based on a partial transcript cited in a federal court’s criminal complaint against Trump. Notably, Trump references top-secret plans for an attack on Iran, allegedly prepared by Gen. Mark A. Milley, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has become a vocal critic of Trump since the end of his presidency.
During the two-minute audio clip, Trump’s voice can be heard as he mentions, “These are the papers. This was done by the military and given to me.” He acknowledges that as president, he had the power to declassify the information but emphasizes that the documents remain secret. Presently, Trump faces 37 charges related to the seized classified files, which were confiscated during an FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last August. If convicted, these charges carry the potential of a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Offering expert insights, Larry Johnson, a retired CIA intelligence officer and former US State Department official, suggests that Trump’s administration was not the first to consider a war with Iran. He emphasizes that war plans against Iran have existed since the mullahs took power in 1980, undergoing revisions and updates over time. Johnson advises against overanalyzing Trump’s discussion of a single plan, as the key point lies in Trump’s refusal to act upon these plans. Despite pressure from advisors advocating for war with Iran, Trump resisted their calls and refused to comply. This stance contributes significantly to the criticism and anger directed at him.
Interestingly, Johnson points out that the likelihood of war with Iran was higher during Trump’s predecessor’s term, Barack Obama. The United States actively supported intelligence operations that targeted Iranian scientists and provided backing to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) terrorist group under Obama’s presidency. Trump’s aversion to conflict and his preference for diplomatic negotiations posed challenges to the defense establishment in Washington, DC, which had a strong desire for military engagement.
Looking ahead, Johnson predicts that if Trump manages to evade the charges against him and secure the 2024 US election, he would likely seek ways to de-escalate tensions with Iran and negotiate agreements. However, he highlights the bipartisan inclination in Washington to promote conflict, with both Republicans and Democrats advocating for military engagement. President Joe Biden’s willingness to reach substantial agreements with Iran remains uncertain, while Trump genuinely believed in and actively pursued such agreements during his tenure.
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