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Reality check: Mike Pence links Soleimani to 9/11

Vice President Mike Pence
Mike Pence. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

While defending President Trump's decision to authorize the drone strike that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, Vice President Pence claimed on Twitter that Soleimani helped "10 of the 12" Sept. 11 attackers travel to Afghanistan.

Reality check: "That does not match established historical accounts of General [Soleimani] or public United States intelligence about the hijackers," The New York Times writes.

  • Soleimani is not mentioned whatsoever in the "9/11 Commission Report." The report concludes there is no evidence that Iran nor Hezbollah were aware of the 9/11 attacks.
  • Soleimani focused on undermining Saudi Arabia, and is said to have helped facilitate the capture of Al Qaeda militants on behalf of the U.S., the Times writes.
  • Pence also mentioned 12 attackers, but there were 19. Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for Pence, told the Times the vice president was referring to a sub-group of attackers known to have traveled through Afghanistan.
  • Waldman did note that the U.S. Treasury Department identified and sanctioned three senior Al Qaeda operatives living in Iran in 2016, and knowingly allowed them and several 9/11 attackers to move through Iran to Afghanistan.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include information from Vice President Mike Pence's spokesperson Katie Waldman.

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