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sarinphoto1Seymour M. Hersh
(Investigative journalist and political writer based in Washington D.C. USA. He is a long time contributor to The New Yorker magazine on national security matters and has also written for the London Review of Books since 2013)

Copyright: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin

Note: RIEAS received permission from the Author, Mr. Seymour M. Hersh and the London Review of Books to post the article.

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: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. 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. Read more

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