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Hersh Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts.
Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order — a planning document that precedes a ground invasion — citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity.
When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.
But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence.
A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information — in terms of its timing and sequence — to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening.
The distortion, he said, reminded him of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam.
The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence.
The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August.
For two days — 20 and 21 August — there was no mention of Syria.
On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria.
Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites.
At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.
Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore.
The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.
The absence of immediate alarm inside the American intelligence community demonstrates that there was no intelligence about Syrian intentions in the days before the attack.Minority Report is a good movie, exciting, thrilling, and mysterious at the same time.
Its direction towards humanity and moral values is thought provoking, providing depth to the storyline, not letting us be distracted from the motive of the story by the amazing stunts, 4/4(1). Minority Report – Movie Review Essay Essay Sample. Imagine a near perfect functional state where virtually everything knew your personal information, the streets are filled with laughter, smiles and murder is known to be non-existent.
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