In a thread laying out Soleimani’s “worst atrocities,” Pence included how Soleimani “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.”
Links between Soleimani and the 9/11 attacks have not been proven, as experts noted. Daniel Byman, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a staff member on the 9/11 Commission, told USA TODAY, “To my knowledge, there’s no evidence Soleimani was directly running the 9/11 operatives that were transiting Iran.”
Although there were links between Al Qaeda and Iran, it was “not true” that Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks, Byman said. As the bipartisan report from the 9/11 Commission concluded, “We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.”
The tweet drew condemnation from experts, journalists and former government officials, who pushed back on the statement.
The President of the United States is pinning Benghazi on Iran. Then to top it off, the Vice President of the United States is pinning 9/11 on Iran. This is not only reckless, it’s dangerous misinformation.
“We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attacks. At the time of their travel through Iran, the Al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.”
Mr. Vice President, First, there were 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks: 15 Saudis, 2 Emiratis, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanese. Second, there are lots of bad things Soleimani did, this is not one of them.
Pence’s press secretary Katie Waldman stood by the assertion, saying “12 of the 19 transited through Afghanistan. 10 of those 12 were assisted by Soleimani.
“Soleimani”, The New York Times reported, was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission’s report.