Seymour Hersh: Obama Misled Public About Syria Attack
Although the United States never attacked Syria, a new report from renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleges that the Obama Administration hid evidence and cherry picked statements in selling the public on a potential Syrian intervention this summer.
In August, the United Nations concluded that a sarin gas attack was carried out near Damascus. The Administration was quick to point the finger at the Syrian army. The President gave a speech in September, saying “We know the Assad regime was responsible. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.”
Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told the New York Times “No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence.”
According to Hersh, though the Administration blamed the sarin attack on the Syrian government and President Bashar Assad, they also knew that jihadi groups that fight among the Syrian rebels have “mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and were capable of manufacturing it in quantity.”
Hersh cited one of the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, noting that the documents showed that “the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack.” In Hersh’s words, Obama “may have not played it straight about a war crime [and] actually asked America to go to war without a solid case.”
Those within the administration were quick to denounce the report. Spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence Shawn Turner told media “”any suggestion that there was an effort to suppress intelligence about a nonexistent alternative explanation is simply false.”
Ultimately, the Administration decided not to strike and, along with Russia, came to a deal with Syria to destroy their chemical weapons.
(Image courtesy of David House)