- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A decision to send hundreds of additional troops to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq’s capital came after Pentagon drones provided military planners with a clearer picture of the Islamic State’s “posture around Baghdad.”

Government officials reiterated Wednesday that the State Department’s request that an additional 350 troops be sent to Baghdad was not prompted by a specific threat.

Officials previously attributed the move to an “awareness of the overall threat environment,” but a senior Pentagon official said more specifically that the deployment was motivated in part by intelligence collected from the Defense Department’s unmanned aircraft and fighter jets showing the Islamic State’s presence and capabilities.

The official noted that the U.S. government is concerned the Islamic State may deploy snipers in proximity to the Embassy, set off car bombs or dispatch suicide bombers to the building’s gates.

The intelligence, gathered in recent weeks, prompted the State Department and the White House to push forward a plan to provide additional protection to U.S. Embassy personnel, according to the official.

“As ISIL continues to consolidate its positions in Anbar and Saladin provinces, it gets easier for them to conduct operations in and around Baghdad,” the official said.