There is fresh intelligence of a potential Iranian threat against US forces and interests in the Middle East, according to several US defense and administration officials.
"There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks," one administration official told CNN.
A second official described it as information that has been gathered throughout November. The information is being gathered by military and intelligence agencies.
The officials would not say in what format the intelligence exists. But in the last several weeks there has been movement of Iranian forces and weapons that the US worries could be put in place for a potential attack, if one is ordered by the Iranian regime, the officials said. It's not clear if a potential threat would come from the central government or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The head of US military operations in the Middle East recently signaled the US expects some kind of Iranian action in response to the US sanctions and pressure campaign that is trying to get the regime to abandon its nuclear program.
"I would expect that if we look at the past three or four months, it's possible they will do something that is irresponsible. It's possible that they'll lash out at their neighbors," Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, told an audience in Bahrain at the time. "It is not going to be productive for them in the long term to choose to act out in the military domain. That's the message that we're trying to convey."
The Pentagon did allow the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to enter the Persian Gulf and conduct a port visit in Bahrain during the Thanksgiving holiday. But officials said specific precautions were taken, given the threat, although they would not say what those precautions were.
The carrier is now expected to stay in the region until the next carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman, moves closer, from its current position in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
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