A CNN analyst claimed on Thursday that "crossfire of reckless escalation" resulted in Iran firing a missile at an airplane, leading to the death of 176 people.
The Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s international airport Wednesday was shot down by mistake by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials told Fox News.
Officials said U.S. intelligence increasingly points at the airliner being accidentally struck by a Russian-made missile, killing all those on board the flight, just hours after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting two military bases housing American and coalition troops.
CNN national security and legal analyst Susan Hennessey, however, appeared to spread the blame between the U.S. and the regime.
"176 completely innocent lives, killed in the crossfire of reckless escalation. Just an unbelievable tragedy," Hennessey tweeted.
Hennessey's analysis raised plenty of eyebrows on social media, particularly for referring to the incident as a "crossfire" between the two nations.
"There was no crossfire. If reports are true, it means an airliner full of hundreds of people was shot down by Iran just after Iran launched strikes against Iraqi bases housing U.S. service members. The U.S. didn’t fire back then or since. No crossfire— only Iran fired that night," Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy reacted.
"What crossfire, Susan?" The Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross asked.
"Did Jeff Zucker tell these people to all tweet out the word 'Crossfire' on purpose?" conservative commentator Stephen Miller tweeted, referring to the CNN president.
Hennessey doubled down amid the criticisms, saying "When people warn of the risks of escalation, civilians being killed in accidents are part of that risk. Period. It is *explicitly* included in national security risk analysis" and that her critics have taken a "lazy, dishonest, and fundamentally cowardly position."
She told her followers, "Guys, 'how dare you blame us and not Iran' and 'debate my definition of crossfire, coward' right-wing twitter is just pretending. The answer is to roll your eyes and ignore them. They'll tire themselves out eventually."
The CNN analyst wasn't the only journalist who expressed that sentiment. NBC News correspondent Heidi Przybyla said that the plane crash was "at minimum, related to crossfire." The Atlantic staff writer Anne Applebaum similarly wrote that Ukraine was "sucked in to a geopolitical conflict created by others" and that plane was caught "in the crossfire."