US spies don’t know who used chemical weapons in Syria

This video from London, England says about itself:

Aug 28, 2013

Protesters gather outside Downing Street to oppose Syria intervention

From Associated Press today:

AP SOURCES: Intelligence On Syria Chemical Weapons No ‘Slam Dunk’

Kimberly Dozier And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press

41 minutes ago

AP sources: In spite of Obama’s assertion, intelligence on weapons use in Syria no ‘slam dunk’

WASHINGTON — The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least 100 people is no “slam dunk,” with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria‘s chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.

President Barack Obama declared unequivocally Wednesday that the Syrian government was responsible, while laying the groundwork for an expected U.S. military strike. …

However, multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk” — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria is thick with caveats. It builds a case that Assad’s forces are most likely responsible while outlining gaps in the U.S. intelligence picture. Relevant congressional committees were to be briefed on that evidence by teleconference call on Thursday, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

The complicated intelligence picture raises questions about the White House’s full-steam-ahead approach to the Aug. 21 attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb, with worries that the attack could be tied to al-Qaida-backed rebels later. Administration officials said Wednesday that neither the U.N. Security Council, which is deciding whether to weigh in, or allies’ concerns would affect their plans.

Intelligence officials say they could not pinpoint the exact locations of Assad’s supplies of chemical weapons, and Assad could have moved them in recent days as U.S. rhetoric builds. That lack of certainty means a possible series of U.S. cruise missile strikes aimed at crippling Assad’s military infrastructure could hit newly hidden supplies of chemical weapons, accidentally triggering a deadly chemical attack.

Over the past six months, with shifting front lines in the 2½-year-old civil war and sketchy satellite and human intelligence coming out of Syria, U.S. and allied spies have lost track of who controls some of the country’s chemical weapons supplies, according to one senior U.S. intelligence official and three other U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence shared by the White House as reason to strike Syria’s military complex. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the Syrian issue publicly. …

The uncertainty calls into question the statements by Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.

“We know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons,” Kerry said. “We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place.” …

“Based on available intelligence, there can be no doubt the Assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Short of putting troops on the ground, I believe a meaningful military response is appropriate.”

Others, both Democrats and Republicans, have expressed serious concern with the expected military strike.

Moloch’s Minions: Preparing More Slaughter in Syria: here.

As their case for war with Syria collapses, US and British officials are promising to present evidence, while continuing to prepare for war: here.

In the unofficial news organ of the German Greens, the taz, columnist Micha Brumlik has written an article urgently calling for war against Syria: here.

Syria: No 10 [British Conservative government] accuses Ed Miliband [Labour party] of giving succour to Assad regime: here.

Prime Minister David Cameron has put his case for military action against Syria to British MPs, but has conceded intelligence that the regime used chemical weapons is not “100% certain”: here.

12 thoughts on “US spies don’t know who used chemical weapons in Syria

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