Why did the Secretary of State, and not the Director of National Intelligence, present the findings of an unclassified memo released today that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on Aug. 21?
An assessment this important should have been rolled out by an objective intelligence agency head and not a partisan Obama official like John Kerry.
Could it be that the White House did not want intelligence officials publicly answering questions about this issue because their answers would not be as definitive and emotional as Kerry's speech was today?
Was this an intelligence community memo, a State Department memo, or a National Security Council memo? After the CIA wrote talking points on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, they were later revised at least 12 times, probably by State Department and NSC officials.
Which agency wrote the Syria talking points and were they later revised by nonintelligence officials? Did the White House revise this memo?
Major intelligence assessments usually have dissenting views. There were indications of this early this week when press leaks surfaced that the intelligence community's case on this issue was not a "slam dunk." Was there any dissent from the intelligence community to the assessment that Kerry rolled out today? If so, what were these dissents and which agency made them?
These questions need to be answered because of what happened in the aftermath of last September's attacks on Benghazi consulate when the Obama administration clearly manipulated intelligence and misled the public as to whether this was a terrorist attack. There may be a clear case that the Assad regime used chemical weapons last week, but Kerry's speech today does not convince me of this.
Fred Fleitz served for 25 years as a CIA analyst, a State Department senior adviser, and with the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is now chief analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service.
Click HERE to read LIGNET’s latest analysis of the Syria crisis.
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