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Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:03 PM

Why is the Administration Withholding Israeli-Provided Intercepts That "Prove" Responsibility?

Last edited Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:11 PM - Edit history (1)

This afternoon, nine days after the event, the U.S. Government issued its first official account of events in the northern Damascus suburbs. The State Department released a report, U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013, that alleges the following: http://www.c-span.org/uploadedFiles/Content/Documents/USGassessmentonSyria%281%29.pdf

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting. Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence . . .


The State Dept Report is missing something essential -- any specific evidence of command authorization for the attack. That is essential to a finding of governmental culpability that must be present if the US or anyone else is going to launch a punative military action against Syria.

Here's what the "declassified" document just released does not contain: any specific information, or reference to specific information, that in any way ties officials at the Minister of Defense or higher level in the planning and execution of this attack. What it does say is that the the Syrian Minister of Defense upon learning of the attack ordered it to cease.

Furthermore, the specific information provided by other sources shows that the Minister of Defense personally spoke with the unit commander after the attack, and the Minister is characterized as being panicked by the news he receives. Foreign Policy’s magazine The Cable reported on August 27: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/27/exclusive_us_spies_say_intercepted_calls_prove_syrias_army_used_nerve_gas

Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.”


That report goes on to express the uncertainties that have arisen in assigning culpability for the incident:

But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? "It's unclear where control lies," one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. "Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?"

Nor are U.S. analysts sure of the Syrian military's rationale for launching the strike -- if it had a rationale at all. Perhaps it was a lone general putting a long-standing battle plan in motion; perhaps it was a miscalculation by the Assad government. Whatever the reason, the attack has triggered worldwide outrage, and put the Obama administration on the brink of launching a strike of its own in Syria. "We don't know exactly why it happened," the intelligence official added. "We just know it was pretty fucking stupid."


The UK National Post-Telegraph reflected that assessment that there is no certainty as whether this attack was ordered from above or the unauthorized work of a lower-ranking officer in the field:http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/28/intercepted-phone-call-helped-convince-u-s-that-syrian-regime-was-responsible-for-deadly-chemical-attack/

A report about the new evidence was published on Foreign Policy, an international affairs website, as President Barack Obama announced that the United States has “concluded” that the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians. Yet U.S. intelligence officials say questions remain about whether it was an officially sanctioned attack or the work of an over-zealous officer.

The intercepted message does not conclusively establish who gave the order to use chemical weapons and could mean it was a mistake, analysts suggested.


Furthermore, another factor to consider is the accuracy of the assessments that have been produced. the source of the key intercepts was IDF Unit 8200, the Israeli NSA. This is from a report the following day in The Guardian (08/28): http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/israeli-intelligence-intercepted-syria-chemical-talk

The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime's deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported.

The 8200 unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, which specialises in electronic surveillance, intercepted a conversation between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons, an unnamed former Mossad official told Focus. The content of the conversation was relayed to the US, the ex-official said.

The 8200 unit collects and analyses electronic data, including wiretapped telephone calls and emails. It is the largest unit in the IDF.

Israel has invested in intelligence assets in Syria for decades, according to a senior government official. "We have an historic intelligence effort in the field, for obvious reasons," he said.

Israel and the US had a "close and co-operative relationship in the intelligence field", he added, but declined to comment specifically on the Focus report.

Senior Israeli security officials arrived in Washington on Monday to share the latest results of intelligence-gathering, and to review the Syrian crisis with national security adviser Susan Rice.


Finally, we observe, Susan Rice and the Administration have been sitting on these Israeli-based intercepts for five days. Why does this report lack any direct reference to the Israeli NSA-based information which formed the basis for White House decisions. The Obama Administration can not credibly claim a need to protect sources and methods, particularly when in this case they have already been publicly described in several news media reports in the United States, the UK, and Israel.

Why are we, the American people who must bear the responsibility for the costs and consequences, intended and unintended, of Obama's reprisal attack, not being shown this critical evidence?

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why is the Administration Withholding Israeli-Provided Intercepts That "Prove" Responsibility? (Original post)
leveymg Aug 2013 OP
grasswire Aug 2013 #1
kelliekat44 Aug 2013 #17
leveymg Aug 2013 #18
jsr Aug 2013 #2
pinto Aug 2013 #3
leveymg Aug 2013 #5
David__77 Aug 2013 #4
leveymg Aug 2013 #7
pnwmom Aug 2013 #6
leveymg Aug 2013 #8
KittyWampus Aug 2013 #10
leveymg Aug 2013 #11
KittyWampus Aug 2013 #9
leveymg Aug 2013 #13
KittyWampus Aug 2013 #14
sheshe2 Aug 2013 #15
leveymg Aug 2013 #16
KoKo Aug 2013 #12

Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:08 PM

1. trust, but verify. nt

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Response to grasswire (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:33 PM

17. Wasn't Iraeli "intelligence" instrumental in "yellow cake" fiasco? nt

 

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #17)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 10:23 PM

18. There's one theory involving a Lady in Milan and a Sr. Ledeen in Rome. . .

but, such things will never be proven.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:10 PM

2. What are they hiding? And why?

“If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.” - NSA motto

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:15 PM

3. "To protect sources and methods". And intel is not solely from Israeli sources, in my understanding.

Much is our own. Don't get your Israeli specific point. I assume, as Kerry said, that some of the intel from numerous sources is not public info. "To protect sources and methods". Yet has been shared with Congressional leaders and committees.

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Response to pinto (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:36 PM

5. The Israelis intercepted the phone call from the Defense Minister that stopped the barrage - very

significant piece of evidence if you want to determine official culpability for the attack. An analyst's description of the contents of that conversation as well as the identity of who intercepted it (IDF Unit 8200) is already part of the public record. They can't continue to claim methods and sources - those are already known.

Without a full examination of the evidence relied upon, we cannot assess the decision to carry out a punative attack. That's war by cover-up, which is nearly as bad as war by deception - a possibility that can't be ruled out until these intercepts are declassified and released.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:24 PM

4. I think you know, because it will show that it outside Syrian command/control.

And they don't want that to gum anything up. That's the "best case" scenario for the administration. Worst case, there's no "there" there at all.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:38 PM

7. I guess we should ask Susan Rice about whether there's "there" there.

She'll give us the unvarnished truth, no spin, no agenda, I'm sure.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:37 PM

6. Because it could endanger their sources and/or keep them from using them again.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:40 PM

8. Please see reply #5 and come back and argue the merits.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:43 PM

10. What part of endangering intelligence don't you grasp? Your late attempts at gathering some info

 

are poorly done.

You want some more info? Check my journal and do some reading.

It doesn't matter IF this was or was not chemicals wrongly mixed (Juan Cole) or a sub-commander making a mistake (your link which is info I posted 2 days ago, btw).

It was done under Assad with HIS STOCKPILES.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:46 PM

11. How can you endanger a public secret, Ms. Wampus? We already know sources and methods - we want to

see the critical evidence for ourselves before committing our country to another war. Have you learned nothing from Iraq?

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:41 PM

9. Just because your fucked up hero Snowden released classified info doesn't mean intelligence is safe

 

to release.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:48 PM

13. Just because your fucked up hero Bush got away with the Iraq War deceptions does mean we should

allow another Administration the same liberty.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:59 PM

14. LOL! My hero Bush? What's next, going to call me a poopie head?

 

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:08 PM

15. Jury results.

At Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:44 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

Just because your fucked up hero Snowden released classified info doesn't mean intelligence is safe
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3566657

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

Personal attack on the OP by claiming they consider Snowden a hero. Completely irrelevant.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:55 PM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Meh
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to HIDE IT and said: Rude, over the top -
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #15)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 09:29 PM

16. I also would have voted to let Kitty's comment stand. Harmless venting.

Last edited Fri Aug 30, 2013, 10:13 PM - Edit history (1)

We're all adults here, right? (Don't know about the "poopie head" reference, though . . .)

I do wish that someone would make a serious argument about why this particular piece of intelligence needs to remain classified, particularly when its already in the public domain. I guess those who don't have a TS security clearances have no "need to known" why America goes to war in the 21st Century.

Cheez-itz. . .

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:47 PM

12. Because if the Reports are from Israel..Might remind folks of "Iraq Invasion"

and the polluted info that came from Chalabi...and now...it seems "Bandar Bush" the Saudi's version of NSA James Clapper is the one who "MIGHT/MIGHT" have fed the intelligence to Kerry/Obama.

It's worth investigating. There are Reports out their linking that there are links back to George W's Buddy "Bandar" and we know the Saudi's were connected to "9/11."

Who Knows...but worth "pulling the threads" of these news stories...so many of which connect back to Bush 2001 and what came then and after.

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