On October 12, CNN hosted John Bolton to discuss Hamas’ attacks on Israel and Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza. Bolton repeatedly asserted, without evidence, that Iran had directed Hamas to carry out the attack, and lambasted the Biden administration for its supposed weakness toward Iran.
Bolton, who previously served as former President Donald Trump’s National Security adviser, has a long history of agitating for war in Iran. His agitation for military strikes and intervention against Iran goes back over a decade, and he has consistently ignored the risks of such an action. In 2018, he again called for U.S. intervention in Iran, saying, “We need to bring that regime down.”
Given his clear track record as an advocate for U.S. intervention in Iran, CNN must have known he would bring this message to its airwaves in discussions of the ongoing violence in the Gaza region.
In his conversation with co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly, Bolton asserted that the Hamas’ attacks were really an “Iranian attack on Israel using Hamas as a surrogate.” Harlow asked Bolton whether he had any intelligence backing up his claims, to which he confirmed that the “administration certainly isn't sharing intelligence with me.” Harlow reiterated that Bolton’s views are “in opposition to what multiple sources tell CNN, the U.S. intelligence.”
Bolton pointed to a Wall Street Journal report that “there is an intelligence estimate that indeed Iran did know.” The report refers to a “preliminary unclassified assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies” that claims Iran knew the attack would take place, but did not know the timing or scope. Bolton continued to assert that it is improbable that “Hamas acted on their own or without approval from Iran.” When Harlow asked whether it is “important to be absolutely sure,” Bolton responded that “this is not a court of law.”