Trump sparks confusion with tweet of apparent Iranian launch site

President Trump denied any U.S. involvement in an apparent launch pad explosion of an Iranian rocket on Friday, tweeting an image that appeared to be sensitive in nature and that sparked confusion. 

The high-resolution black-and-white image showed the purported launch pad, and Mr. Trump stated in his tweet that the accident had occurred “during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran.”

The image tweeted by the president was also labeled, pointing out what had allegedly been damaged: the Safir mobile-erector-launcher, two support vehicles, a propellant burner trailer, and a service tower. And the labeling also noted that the “scorching and damage” were “present only on northern side of launch pad.”

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The image did appear in an intelligence briefing, a U.S. official told CBS News. The president did have a presidential daily briefing on his schedule Friday. But it’s not clear how the image made it from an intelligence briefing into the commander-in-chief’s Twitter feed. 

The White House declined to comment beyond the president’s tweet. 

Mr. Trump only had his intelligence briefing and lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his public schedule Friday before leaving for Camp David late Friday afternoon, as Hurricane Dorian barrels towards the U.S. 

The Associated Press noted that this was the third attempt by Iran to launch a rocket and said the first two, in January and February had failed.

— CBS News’ David Martin and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report 

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