Michigan Congresswoman and Former CIA Analyst Says Trump 'Made a Different Calculation' on Soleimani Killing Compared to Bush and Obama

Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said Friday that President Donald Trump's decision to kill Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps—Quds Force, differed from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama because his administration "made a different calculation."

In her statement, the Democratic congresswoman, a former CIA analyst, said that she participated in discussions on the U.S.'s reponse to Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike outside of Baghad International Airport.

"As a former Shia militia analyst who served multiple tours in Iraq and worked at the White House under both Presidents Bush and Obama, and later at the Pentagon, I participated in countless conversations on how to respond to Qassem Soleimani's violent campaigns across the region," Slotkin said. "If you worked on the Middle East over the past 20 years, you dealt with the growing organization and sophistication of Soleimani's covert and overt military activities, which have contributed to significant destabilization across the region."

Slotkin explained the reasons that prevented previous U.S. presidents in taking aim at Soleimani. "What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict?" she said. "The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn't justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation." She also noted the importance of the Trump administration in thinking out the plan of actions and counterattacks.

The congresswoman concluded by warning that the president's administration needs to inform Congress on their next course of action. "If military engagement is going to be protracted—which any informed assessment would consider—the Administration must request an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. If the Administration needs additional resources, it will need to come back to Congress to request support," she said. "Congress needs to understand the Administration's plan as soon as possible."

Slotkin began working as a political analyst for the CIA in 2003. In 2006, she was the leader of a CIA assessment team in Iraq and served as the National Security Council staff's director for Iraq policy from 2007 until 2009. In 2009, she became a senior advisor on Iraq policy at the U.S. State Department. In 2011, Slotkin served as an adviser on Middle East policy on the staff of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Slotkin's press secretary told Newsweek that the congresswoman had no further comment.

elissa slotkin
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) does a television interview in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol as debate on the articles of impeachment against President Trump continues on the House floor on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty