Trump administration privately briefs Congress on Iran

Trump administration privately briefs Congress on Iran

The Trump administration's top national security officials, including Director of Nationwide Intelligence Dan Coats, met privately with the Gang of Eight, which includes the top Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House and the heads of each chamber’s intelligence committee to brief them on escalating tensions with Iran.

That session will be followed on May 21 with separate briefings for all members of the House and Senate from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph F. Dunford Jr., according to aides apprised of those plans.

The ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, refused to comment on the classified information discussed, but said more lawmakers should be informed of the Iran threat.

"I think obviously there are certain protections that have to be maintained for Gang of Eight but it’s very important that more members hear this story," the AP cited Warner as saying.

In each meeting, officials are expected to field questions about purported threats facing U.S. troops in the Middle East and the corresponding response from Washington, including the deployment of additional warplanes and a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, the decision to extract diplomatic personnel from Iraq, and reports of a possibly drastic expansion of the military’s footprint throughout the region.