"Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the January 6 US-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran's military aggressiveness," reports Gareth Porter. The incident, described by Pentagon officials as a "careless, reckless and potentially hostile" provocation by Iranian boats that nearly led to gunfire, was actually a nonthreatening, "almost routine" encounter that officials in Washington distorted. "The initial press stories on the incident, all of which can be traced to a briefing by deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in charge of media operations, Bryan Whitman, contained similar information that has since been repudiated by the navy itself," Porter writes. "Then the navy disseminated a short video into which was spliced the audio of a phone call warning that US warships would 'explode' in 'a few seconds.'"
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