2015 memo from Erik Prince to Trump campaign: ‘National disgrace’ that Soleimani ‘not already DEAD’
January 11, 2020
(CNN)Erik Prince, the Blackwater-founder-turned-unofficial-2016-Trump-campaign-adviser, advocated to the campaign years ago for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, according to a recently disclosed memo that reveals some of the earliest thinking circulated within Donald Trump’s team regarding his approach to Iran.
Prince made the pitch in a memo emailed to Steve Bannon, then running the conservative website Breitbart, who forwarded the memo to then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. It’s not clear whether the message reached Trump, but Prince’s outreach on foreign policy later got him audiences with future national security adviser Michael Flynn and Donald Trump Jr.
“[Qasem Soleimani] is the Heinrich Himmler of the Iranian State,” Erik Prince wrote in the September 8, 2015 memo to the Trump campaign, pegging Soleimani as the “muscle” behind the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “That Soleimani and his ilk are not already DEAD is a national disgrace for America.”
The memo was made public recently as part of a CNN lawsuit seeking access to documents from the Robert Mueller Russia investigation.
In his memo, Prince offers sharp criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of Iran and highlights Soleimani’s and his Quds Force’s record of targeting Americans in terrorist attacks over decades. In language that presages some of the Trump administration’s rationale in recent days for the Soleimani killing, Prince wrote that “it is the Quds [Force] that supplied Iraqi Shia extremists with a extremely dangerous Improvised Explosive Device IED (road side bomb) called an EFP. … The Iranians have killed and maimed thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.”