The slip happened last week as a Pentagon officer briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. In an effort to hide the screw-up, the Pentagon has since redacted any mention of the training camp from its public records, the Washington Times reported.
The Pentagon typically only discusses aid partner nations provide to its operations against Islamic State militants only after those partner nations have publicly spoken about those contributions.
Jordan has not publicly provided details about its plan to support US operations. The ally nation fears retaliation if it is seen as being too close to the US or getting too involved in neighboring Syria.
“Either the official made a mistake or is deliberately leaking information to put the administration’s plans for Syria in a better light in an attempt to defuse criticism that the administration has bungled efforts to aid Syrian rebels,” James Phillips, a national security analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Times.
At that same meeting last week, the Pentagon also revealed too much information about a military plan to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, according to criticism voiced by lawmakers from both parties, including Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“I was similarly mind-boggled, and didn’t understand at all, how this could be part of a strategic plan in what they’re talking about,” Gabbard, a captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard and an Iraq War veteran, said on CNN.
“That you’re not only outlining the timeline, which is troubling, but you’re also talking about specifically how many troops, how many brigades, where they’re coming from and what they’re going to be doing.”
The Pentagon officer said the Jordanian training site would be among the first to be up and running.
“Saudi Arabia’s site will take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to fully bring online,” the official said last week. “So it will come into the picture shortly after Jordan and Turkey are there. And then Qatar has also offered a site, but that one is going to take probably six to nine months to bring it up and get it fully online.”
The edited transcript, which was released Thursday, made no mention of Jordan.
“The four sites are coming online, specifically the site in [edited], a turnkey facility is ready to go,” the transcript states. “We’re working through some final technical agreements with them that we anticipate being signed any day, if it has not already been signed. The site in Turkey is also nearly a turnkey facility, and that technical agreement with Turkey was actually just signed today. Saudi Arabia’s site will take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to fully bring online. So it will come – come into the picture shortly after [edited] and Turkey are there.”
Jordan has been a key US ally in the Middle East, and is one of four Arab partner nations that have participated in American-led air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
Each of the countries participating in bombing raids has made special requests to the US military in order avoid retaliation from the Syrian government and other neighbor nations, a senior Pentagon official told the Washington Times.
“A lot of the coalition partners have had their caveats and sensitivities, and they’ve basically said, ‘Hey, don’t go there,’” the official said.