Washington - The Pentagon said on Friday there had been no effort to play down or delay the release of information on concussive injuries from Iran's January 8 attack on a base hosting US forces in Iraq, saying the public learned just hours after the defence secretary.
US President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and others throughout the US government for a week had said that Iran's attack on bases in Iraq, in retaliation for the killing of a Iranian general, had not killed or injured any US servicemembers.
That is no longer true, the Pentagon now acknowledges. But US military leadership in Washington only became aware on Thursday that 11 US service members were flown out of Iraq due to concussive symptoms, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.
"This idea that there was an effort to de-emphasise injuries for some sort of amorphous political agenda doesn't hold water," Hoffman said.
But the disclosure of the concussive symptoms late on Thursday, more than a week after the attack itself, is likely at a minimum to open a debate about the Pentagon's longstanding treatment of brain injury as a different class of wounds that it says do not require immediate reporting up the chain of command.