Mike Pence's Press Secretary Supports Vice President's Disputed Claim That Iran General Soleimani Was Involved in 9/11

Mike Pence's press secretary has defended his claim which linked Iran to the 9/11 terror attacks to justify the killing of Iran General Qassem Soleimani after the Vice President was heavily criticized for his remark.

Many Twitter commentators accused Pence of spreading conspiracy theories after suggesting Soleimani played a role in the 2001 attacks as part of a number of tweets explaining why President Donald Trump decided to kill the general in an airstrike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Pence described the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force as an "evil man" who was responsible for "killing thousands of Americans." Pence then went on to list a series of "atrocities" Soleimani was responsible for, including suggesting he played a part in the 9/11 terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people.

"Assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States," Pence wrote.

Pence appeared to incorrectly state the number of 9/11 hijackers as 12—the actual number was 19, none of whom were Iranian—as well as suggesting Soleimani was involved.

According to the U.S. government's 9/11 Commission Report, there was evidence that Iranian officials were instructed to assist Al-Qaeda members traveling between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia through Iran by not stamping their passports. An Iranian border stamp would have otherwise opened up the passport holder to severe scrutiny.

"We now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi 'muscle' operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001," the reports states.

However, the 9/11 Commission Report later adds: "We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack. At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operations."

Soleimani's name is not mentioned once in the 567-page report.

Defending Pence's remarks, his press secretary Katie Waldman clarified the inaccurate number of hijackers he gave.

"For those asking: 12 of the 19 transited through Afghanistan. 10 of those 12 were assisted by Soleimani," Waldman tweeted.

Waldman did not clarify how Soleimani was linked to the 9/11 hijackers, nor why Pence linked Soleimani to the 9/11 attacks despite the U.S government's own official report not suggesting he played a role.

The White House has been contacted for further comment.

Elsewhere, Pence repeated Trump's comments that the decision to kill Soleimani was because he was "plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel," without elaborating. "The world is a safer place today because Soleimani is gone," Pence said.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a Keep America Great rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on December 10, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty
Mike Pence's Press Secretary Supports Vice President's Disputed Claim That Iran General Soleimani Was Involved in 9/11 | U.S.