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WH Informed Congress of Unsuccessful Yemen Mission in Classified Notification

WH Informed Congress of Unsuccessful Yemen Mission in Classified Notification
folder_openAsia-Pacific... access_timeone month ago
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By Staff, Agencies 

The Trump administration informed Congress that it had unsuccessfully targeted an Iranian military official in Yemen days after the attempt was carried out, apprising lawmakers of the operation in the same classified notification that was sent to Capitol Hill regarding the drone strike that martyred Lieutenant Qassem Soleimani, according to several sources familiar.

News of the additional operation in Yemen, which occurred on the same day as the strike on martyr Soleimani, first became public last week and has fueled questions about the administration's legal authority to take military action against Iran without congressional approval.

The classified War Powers notification, which was sent to Congress earlier this month, cites Article II and the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force [AUMF] as legal justifications but does not make an explicit connection between each individual action and a specific authority, the sources said.

The law dictates that such a notice must be sent within 48 hours of US forces entering into hostilities in accordance with the War Powers Act -- a series of procedural requirements to ensure that presidents keep Congress apprised of military decisions.

Democrats have questioned the administration's motives for keeping the notification classified, particularly as they say officials have struggled to articulate why ordering the military action without informing Congress ahead of time was lawful.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement earlier this month that the White House's notification "raises more questions than it answers," slamming the decision to classify it as a "highly unusual" move that "compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security."

Numerous lawmakers, though mostly Democrats, have condemned the administration for not consulting with Congress before the strike, saying officials have also failed to clearly explain the legal underpinnings to justify those actions since then.

"Since President Trump ordered the targeted killing of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, the Administration has failed to answer key questions about the strike's legal authority and the alleged imminent threat that made the strike necessary," Rep. Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services, tweeted Tuesday.

Senators appear likely to rebuke Trump soon in the form of a Senate vote on a War Powers resolution to limit President Donald Trump's military actions in Iran. CNN reported Tuesday that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a classified hearing on the administration's Iran policy and legal authority on Wednesday.

Among those officials expected to brief lawmakers is the State Department's Acting Legal Adviser Mark String, who told lawmakers in July that "the administration has not, to date, interpreted either the 2001 or 2002 AUMF as authorizing military force against Iran, except as may be necessary to defend US or partner forces as they pursue missions authorized under either AUMF."