U.S. officials say they are not discussing or preparing to send Patriot missiles to the Jordanian border with Syria.
"We are unaware of any discussions of sending Patriots to the Jordanian border," a U.S. defense official told the E-Ring, on Friday. "It's patently false."
State Department officials also say they know nothing of the claim first made in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. The paper cited one "unnamed Jordan source," which was enough to cause a stir in Washington on Friday, claiming that the United States is shifting a Patriot missile battery from Qatar and one from Kuwait.
Middle East Monitor also picked up the item, including it in a larger article about U.S. plans to send a U.S. Army headquarters element to Amman, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced publicly this week: "The sources also said that Jordan asked Washington for Patriot batteries during the recent visit by President Barack Obama to Jordan, and the U.S. administration promised to secure two batteries from Qatar and Kuwait during the next week."
Hagel leaves Saturday for Middle East trip that includes visits to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
In a background briefing early on Friday, a senior defense official, when asked about the report of Patriot missiles being moved to Jordan, said, "I don't want to comment on anything specifically regarding what might be on or off the table, in terms of what we're talking about with the Jordanians," and pointed instead to the headquarters element the U.S. had just offered.
"Part of the point of the trip is to hear directly from the Jordanian military officials about their needs, which are considerable, obviously -- but their specific needs and what we may be able to do to help them."
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