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Bolton Held ‘Rare' Meeting on Iran With Top Intel, DoD Advisers at CIA - Reports

© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterThis April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. - Sputnik International
The meeting was held prior to the announcement of the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force of B-52H nuclear-capable bombers to the Middle East, where the US Central Command (CENTCOM) is operating, amid rising tensions between Iran and the US.

A meeting between US National Security Adviser John Bolton and a number of intelligence and military officials was reportedly held on 29 April at CIA headquarters. The meeting was described as "rare" and "unusual", as national security meetings are usually held in the White House Situation Room, and senior White House officials and Cabinet members don't typically attend meetings at the CIA, The Hill reports.

The initiator of the meeting was Bolton, who gathered top US officials, including CIA Director Gina Haspel, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, for a discussion on Iran, The Hill reports.

While the exact topic of the discussion was not specified, it was purportedly not devoted to information that led to the decision to deploy additional forces to the CENTCOM area of responsibility, namely the carrier strike group and the bomber task force.

READ MORE: Trump Peeved by Bolton's Attempt to Pull Him 'INTO A WAR' in Venezuela — Report

This meeting was apparently not the first of its kind, according to an NBC News report, which cited former CIA operations officers and military officials: "such meetings have been held at CIA headquarters to brief top officials on highly sensitive covert actions, either the results of existing operations or options for new ones."

This file photo taken on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 shows a U.S. F-18 fighter jet, left, land on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as a U.S. destroyer sells on alongside during fly exercises in the Persian Gulf - Sputnik International
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Elaborating on the issues, NBC News reported that the US has a very specific intelligence gathering capability on Iran that can only be reviewed at CIA headquarters.

There could be another reason for such a meeting — a disagreement about what intelligence shows about a particular subject — John McLaughlin, former acting CIA director, said, according to NBC.

READ MORE: Pompeo Accuses Iran of 'Threatening Actions', Vows Swift Response to Any Attacks

The meeting took place amid rising tensions between the US and Iran and prior to the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln and the bomber task force to the Middle East. Bolton announced that move Sunday, and it was then confirmed by Shanahan, who claimed that the decision was made "in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces."

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, a fighter jet flies over Iranian flags during the army parade commemorating National Army Day in front of the shrine of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Thursday, April 18, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Tehran, reacting to the move, dubbed the deployment an act of "psychological warfare."

Washington is currently waging a pressure campaign against Iran, the recent developments of which include designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization and a toughening of sanctions against Iranian iron, steel, aluminium and copper.

In response, Tehran announced Wednesday that it plans to suspend some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani saying that the collapse of the deal would be dangerous for the country and the whole world. Rouhani sent a letter to the signatory states, informing them they have 60 days to return to the negotiating table to ensure Iran's interests are still protected by the agreement.

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