Update 2 (4:30pmET): In the latest update to her stream of tweets from the press conference, McClatchy reporter Tara Copp added that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Milley joined Esper during the press pow pow to confirm that the letter’s publication was “a mistake.”
He added that it was “poorly worded” and “had not been signed,” details that were apparently overlooked during the initial press reports.
So the letter was “genuine,” but sent out by mistake, according to both Esper and now Milley. We eagerly await the inside-baseball WaPo report uncovering the series of incompetent maneuvers that led to this pr disaster.
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Update (4:05pmET): Despite the fact that news outlets have circulated a photo of the memo and cited several sources testifying to its accuracy, Defense Secretary Esper told reporters Monday afternoon that the memo was “not accurate” and that “there’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq…we’ve issued no plans to leave.”