The Risk of Brushing Aside Intelligence

The mainstream U.S. media, which knows President Trump disdains facts, accepted his claims about the April 4 Syrian chemical incident without question and ignored doubts of intelligence analysts, a dilemma that Lawrence Davidson addresses.

By Lawrence Davidson

Government intelligence agencies, particularly those in the United States, have a problem. Its nature was spelled out by the retired British diplomat Alastair Crooke in an article entitled “Trump’s 59-Tomahawk Tweet” on April 8. As the title suggests, Crooke was reacting to President Trump’s precipitous attack on a Syrian government airbase, following the chemical weapons episode of April 4 at the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

President Trump at a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on April 5, 2017, at which the President commented on crisis in Syria. (Screen shot from whitehouse.gov)

Crooke notes that U.S. intelligence had raised doubts as to the Syrian government’s responsibility for the release of poison gas. It seems likely that the Russians had alerted U.S. forces that the Syrian air force was going to attack a rebel warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun that was allegedly full of explosives and weapons. Unbeknownst to the Russians, the Syrians and the Americans, the warehouse also held a poisonous mix of organic phosphates and chlorine.

There is also evidence suggesting that whatever released the poison gas came from an explosive device placed on the ground. Wherever the resulting gas cloud came from, and a Syrian government bomb is certainly not the only possibility, it spread over a local neighborhood and killed a number of exposed residents.

The American mass media nevertheless immediately blamed Damascus for an attack using chemical weapons. Trump, also immediately, believed the mass media. He is, after all, increasingly known as the Fox TV president. Taking his cue from the media, he paid insufficient heed to his own intelligence agencies’ doubts. As a result, as Crooke puts it, “the Tomahawks flew.”

All of this led Crooke to ask “whether Western intelligence agencies still retain an ability to speak-out to power.” Can they still, effectively, convince their governments not to assume that mainstream media information is accurate, but “rather to await careful investigation” before “rushing to judgment” on important issues?

If the answer to Crooke’s questions is No, then what is left of the integrity of the intelligence agencies? Are they now reduced to producing “politicized intelligence assessments” that validate predetermined government policies?

Unfortunately, for the United States, this fate appears to threaten the government’s professional intelligence personnel. They seem impotent before a president who has never admitted to a serious mistake in his life – a man who believes that truth is nothing more or less than his own opinion. It might very well be that, facing a crumbling domestic situation produced by his own ill-advised behavior, President Trump sought to recover some credibility by “retaliating” against an alleged crime by Bashar al-Assad.

At least in the short run his maneuver appears to have worked. Trump got an embarrassing amount of positive press following this latest bellicose posturing, and too many editorialists and “talking heads” have asserted that his shooting off 59 Tomahawk missiles (only 39 percent of which hit their target), and thereby killing yet more Syrians, was a “beautiful” and “presidential” act. These commentators also are not known to admit to being wrong.

Historical Precedents

There are actually many historical precedents for this current dilemma of the intelligence agencies. It stands to reason that every once in a while people whose job it is to analyze world affairs will end up telling their national leaders what they don’t want to hear. And while some politicians can handle this better than others, many can’t handle it at all.

In 1948, some Palestinians, uprooted by Israel’s claims to their lands, relocated to the Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria

Here are some examples of the latter. Documented descriptions of the first two examples can be found in my book America’s Palestine (University Press of Florida, 2001) and a documented description of the third example can be found in my book Foreign Policy Inc. (University Press of Kentucky, 2009).

—In 1918, the British War Cabinet, led by David Lloyd George and Alfred Balfour, was in the midst of negotiating what would become known as the Balfour Declaration with the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The British sought the support of world Jewry (which they mistakenly believed the WZO represented) for the Entente war effort in exchange for a British promise to support a “Jewish National Home” in Palestine if, in fact, the British were victorious.

Specifically, (a) the British believed the WZO could facilitate entrance of the United States into the war through its influence with President Woodrow Wilson. And indeed, American Zionists such as Louis Brandeis did have access to the President. However, Wilson was determined to bring the U.S. into the war quite independently of Zionist wishes.

Then, (b) the British were convinced that the WZO could prevent the Russian government (by that time under Soviet control) from leaving the war. This was based on the fact that Leon Trotsky was a Jew. But the British intelligence post at their Petrograd embassy informed the leaders in London that Trotsky was hostile to Zionism, seeing it as a divisive nationalist movement. It is here that intelligence information was ignored by Lloyd George and Balfour in favor of political wishful thinking – their firm, if fallacious, belief in Jewish world power.

—If we move forward to 1947-1948 something similar occurred. This incident involved the U.S. President Harry Truman. Truman had been Vice President when, on April 12, 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died. Succeeding to the presidency in mid-term, he stood for election to that office on his own in 1948.

It was a point of pride for him that he win the election, and like Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour 30 years earlier, he was convinced that the Zionists wielded enough influence with American Jews to help him achieve his goal. Now an informal deal was struck. The Zionists would help get Truman elected and Truman would help the Zionists get approval for the division of Palestine by the United Nations and subsequently grant diplomatic recognition to the new state of Israel.

Taking a stand against this arrangement was the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (NEAA) of the State Department. Those in the NEAA were privy to a range of intelligence sources that Truman knew little of and cared less about.

Thus, when members of the division informed Truman that pressure for partition at the United Nations and precipitous diplomatic recognition of Israel would all but destroy U.S. relations with the Muslim world, and thus harm America’s national interests, Truman refused to take this information seriously. Indeed, Clark Clifford, one of Truman’s chief political advisers, told a representative of the NEAA that Harry Truman’s election was the only “national interest” that counted.

—The Zionists have long been a particularly intrusive political lobby throughout much of the West. However, politicians do not need this outside influence to become so fixated that they will ignore their own intelligence services.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush became convinced that the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack. When the American intelligence services told him this was unlikely, he refused to believe them and sought to establish an independent “intelligence” operation in the Pentagon that would tell him what he wanted to hear – a list of alleged Iraqi transgressions that soon included the fallacious claim that Saddam possessed “weapons of mass destruction.”

None of Bush’s convictions proved true, yet he launched an invasion of Iraq anyway, killing at least half-a-million Iraqis, destroying the country’s political and social infrastructure, and destabilizing the entire Middle East.

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech about the Iraq War on May 1, 2003.

Intelligence agencies have many functions and we know that some of them can be downright criminal. But it can be argued that their main role is the gathering and analysis of information from around the world so that their respective governments can have an accurate idea of what is going on and make decisions accordingly. The suborning of that role almost always leads to very bad decisions.

There seems to be a correlation between this sort of corruption and national leadership that is egocentric, biased and pig-headed. Leaders who either think they know more about foreign matters than the experts (George W. Bush and Donald Trump), or believe that their own religious mythology and racial stereotypes count for more that than the rights of other peoples and nations (Lloyd George and Balfour), or are so consumed by their personal political ambitions (Harry Truman) that they will ignore fact-based intelligence information that complicates those aims.

Of course in the democratic West all such leaders are to some extent reflections of those who voted for them. So keep in mind the old cartoon adage: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism. He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com.

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29 comments for “The Risk of Brushing Aside Intelligence

  1. Tom Welsh
    April 25, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    “…Crooke was reacting to President Trump’s precipitous attack …”

    You mean “precipitate”. There is a difference.

    precipitous
    n adjective
    1 dangerously high or steep.
    2 (of a change to a worse situation) sudden and dramatic.

    precipitate
    n adjective done, acting, or occurring suddenly or without careful consideration.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    April 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I find it most interesting that in every example used by Larence Davidson that where a U.S. President ignores his intelligence agencies there is a Zionist goal to be achieved.

    • Abe
      April 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      2013: Eliot Higgins’ collaborator Dan Kaszeta backs Israel’s evidence free claims
      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.542849

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm

        I couldn’t open it I’m not a subscriber…..if you can tell us what the article said, if you can’t I won’t hold you to it…thanks Joe

    • Abe
      April 25, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      2017: Eliot Higgins’ collaborator Dan Kaszeta backs Israel’s evidence free claims
      https://apnews.com/fc7c8d33cb0c4c3da66bfd9f0e8099d1

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm

        The article said how Israel has stayed largely out of the Syrian war except for a few air strikes, and hearing that I thought, yeah why should Israel get it’s hands dirty when Israel has America to wage it’s ugly war. Meanwhile Americans are up to our ears in debt., and all so as the Zionist can have a homeland.

    • Sam F
      April 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Yes, and money under the table.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

        And all for what?

  3. Tom Welsh
    April 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    “Wherever the resulting gas cloud came from, and a Syrian government bomb is certainly not the only possibility, it spread over a local neighborhood and killed a number of exposed residents”.

    Professor Postol’s report proves conclusively that this is not what happened. Pictures of a lot of dead people were shown (and some who may not have been dead). There is absolutely no proof of how they were killed, but as the terrorists have already killed over 200,000 Syrian soldiers and civilians, it is easy to guess. Dead bodies are what they have the most of (slightly ahead of American weapons and ammunition). Moreover, the background of the pictures showed rocky walls which do not exist anywhere in the hamlet where the civilians would have been exposed.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/67102.html#more-67102

  4. Bill Bodden
    April 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    A point we need to note is that there are two forms of intelligence. There is the intelligence that comprises data in a variety of forms collected by scholars and analysts and spooks in so-called intelligence agencies. Then there is the intelligence of individuals that decides on policies to take based on the knowledge or other forms of information they possess. There is an overwhelming abundance of the former at the same time there is a dearth of the latter when it comes to choosing humane and civilized policies.

    Military budgets become inflated to compensate for a lack of the second form of intelligence cited above in our war department’s leadership.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 25, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Military budgets become inflated to compensate for a lack of the second form of intelligence cited above in our war department’s leadership.

      There is an old saying attributed to the Chinese that comes in a variety of translations that basically suggest that people who lack the intelligence to resolve a problem peacefully resort to violence.

      • Bill Bodden
        April 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        There is an old saying attributed to the Chinese that comes in a variety of translations that basically suggest that people who lack the intelligence to resolve a problem peacefully resort to violence.

        One of the translations states: He who strikes the first blow admits to having the weaker mind.

  5. Tom Welsh
    April 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    “If the answer to Crooke’s questions is No, then what is left of the integrity of the intelligence agencies? Are they now reduced to producing “politicized intelligence assessments” that validate predetermined government policies?”

    The answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes”. Consider that, no matter how many experts are empoloyed to gather and analyze intelligence, the final summarized conclusions are delivered to political leaders by the political hacks whom those leaders have put in charge of the agencies. The leaders tell the hacks what is to be in their reports; they then file the actual intelligence, and tell the leaders what the leaders have told them to tell them. (This technique was used, for instance, by Tony Blair when he wanted evidence to support the invasion of Iraq).

  6. Tom Welsh
    April 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    “Unfortunately, for the United States, this fate appears to threaten the government’s professional intelligence personnel. They seem impotent before a president who has never admitted to a serious mistake in his life – a man who believes that truth is nothing more or less than his own opinion”.

    The only thing that surprises me is that anyone should believe, in 2017, that there are people among the political leadership in Washington who still belong to “the reality-based community”. If Trump has been chosen as president, it is largely *because* he “believes that truth is nothing more or less than his own opinion”. That is one of the disadvantages of being in charge of a nation that honestly believes itself to be “unique”, “exceptional” and “indispensable” (none of which it really is). George Orwell explained the syndrome very well in his “Notes on Nationalism” (1945):

    “Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied(6). In 1927 Chiang Kai Shek boiled hundreds of Communists alive, and yet within ten years he had become one of the heroes of the Left. The re-alignment of world politics had brought him into the anti-Fascist camp, and so it was felt that the boiling of the Communists ‘didn’t count’, or perhaps had not happened. The primary aim of propaganda is, of course, to influence contemporary opinion, but those who rewrite history do probably believe with part of their minds that they are actually thrusting facts into the past. When one considers the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly”.

    • April 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Excellent quote and analysis. Americans were, at one time, fairly pragmatic and earned praise for that. Not that Americans were not nationalists but most of us were skeptical of world-empire. Today there is no pragmatism at the level of public and private leadership–it is all ideology and fantasy. These leaders actually believe their own propaganda. For example, mainstream journalists I have known in the Washington milieu actually believed and, I’m sure, actually still believe a mainstream Narrative that is demonstrably false. If one were coming from outer space and dropped into Washington they would believe these people were suffering from severe mental illness. This is not a uniquely American issue but results from the reality of the modern state and is rapidly infecting all of Western Civilization. The U.S. is the vanguard of a general movement to a post-rational/post-modern society this may, in the end, be a good thing as we move from a narrow rationalism to maybe a more spiritual society and need to pass through this virtual “cloud of unknowing.”

  7. Abe
    April 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) is responsible for gathering and analyzing the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities.

    The ability of the President and the Secretary of Defense to understand and respond to specific threats as quickly as possible is severely compromised by the production of “Government Assessment” documents based on inaccurate information.

    Previous memoranda from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have addressed the “Government Assessment” political documents employed by the White House:

    “Is Syria a Trap?” (6 September 2013)

    “Sarin Attack at Ghouta on Aug. 21, 2013” (22 December 2015)

    “Releasing an Intelligence Report on Shoot-Down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17” (22 July 2015)

    “Syria: Was It Really ‘A Chemical Weapons Attack’?” (11 April 2017)

    Of urgent concern is the body of information used to manufacture “Government Assessment” documents. The United States Government’s assessments appear to have relied primarily on videos, social media reports and journalist accounts.

    Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is defined by both the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), as “produced from publicly available information that is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement.”

    OSINT is intelligence collected from publicly available sources. In the intelligence community (IC), the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or clandestine sources).

    The US Intelligence Community’s open-source activities (known as the National Open Source Enterprise) are dictated by Intelligence Community Directive 301 promulgated by the Director of National Intelligence.

    The “Government Assessment” political documents employed by the White House in August 2013 and July 2014 appear to have relied on an extra-governmental species of “open source intelligence” largely supplied by bloggers based in the United Kingdom.

    Assessments of chemical use in Syria in 2013 (Brown Moses blog) and the downing of Flight MH17 and its aftermath in 2014 (Bellingcat blog) were supplied by UK citizen Eliot Higgins of Leicester.

    Higgins collaborator Dan Kaszeta, a US-UK dual national based in London, provided additional claims of “chemical attacks” in Syria for both the Brown Moses and Bellingcat blogs.

    Since 2013, self-appointed “chemical weapons expert” Kaszeta and “citizen investigative journalist” Higgins have continued to make claims about “chemical attacks” in Syria.

    Immediately following the the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Syria, Kaszeta was cited as a go-to “expert” by the BBC, UK Guardian, CNN, Time magazine, NPR, Germany’s Die Welt and Deutsche Welle, Business Insider, Popular Science, Asia Times and the Associated Press.

    Not content with merely quoting Kaszeta, BBC News online went so far as to publish an essay authored by Kaszeta titled “Syria ‘chemical attack’: What can forensics tell us?” At the end of his BBC News essay, in a furtive effort to quickly “tie the whole narrative together”, Kaszata mentioned that “In 2013, the chemical hexamine, used as an additive, was a critical piece of information linking the Ghouta attack to the government of President Assad.” This intriguing tidbit linked to a December 2013 New York Times article quoting Kaszeta’s own claims about the “very damning evidence” of hexamine.

    However, Kaszeta’s claims about hexamine were already debunked in 2014. Kaszeta continues to claim that Hexamine was used in the 2013 Ghouta attack, despite the evidence that Hexamine is not soluble in alcohols, making it ineffective for this purpose.

    Accurate analysis of all primary and secondary evidence relating to the 21 August 2013 chemical incident at Ghouta indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Al Nusra Front or Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Jabhat Fateh al Sham).

    Accurate analysis of evidence relating to the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Shaykhun indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, the latest rebranding of Al Nusra).

    Higgins and Kaszeta have vigorously backed the narrative of an air-dropped chemical bomb in Idlib. However, none of Kaszeta’s articles on Bellingcat, nor any of the numerous citations of Kaszeta by mainstream media, address the complete absence of evidence of an aerial bomb.

    The alleged “Sarin bomb” hole in the road in Idlib has been photographed numerous times from multiple angles. The size, depth and shape of the hole are clear evidence that it was not produced by a falling object such as an air-dropped bomb.

    MIT physicist and Theodore A. Postol has pointed out that there is “no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft”.

    Despite the fact that Higgins and Kaszeta’s previous claims about chemical attacks in Syria were repeatedly debunked, they continue to be cited as “experts” by mainstream media, human rights organizations, and Western governments.

    Disinformation provided Kaszeta and Higgins enabled the Trump administration to launch its Tomahawk missile attack against Syria without significant resistance from the American public.

    On 19 April 2017, an anonymous Israeli military official provided an evidence free briefing to reporters in Jerusalem. He said that an “Israeli intelligence” claimed that Syrian military commanders ordered the Khan Shaukun attack with President Assad’s knowledge. He also said Israel “estimates” Syria still has “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons. Two other anonymous Israeli defense officials “confirmed” this “assessment”.

    The Associated Press (AP) report of the Israeli briefing included an interview with Bellingcat’s Kaszeta. Josef Federman, AP bureau chief for Israel since 2014, wrote:
    https://apnews.com/fc7c8d33cb0c4c3da66bfd9f0e8099d1

    “Dan Kaszeta, a U.K.-based chemical weapons expert, said the Israeli estimate appeared to be conservative, but nonetheless was enough to be highly lethal.

    “‘One ton of sarin could easily be used to perpetrate an attack on the scale of the 2013 attack. It could also be used for roughly 10 attacks of a similar size to the recent Khan Sheikhoun attack,’ he said.”

    The fact that Kaszeta is now backing evidence free “Israeli intelligence” claims that Syria still possesses chemical weapons points to collusion between Israel and the fake “citizen investigative journalists” at Bellingcat.

    Reckless military actions based on fake “open source intelligence” supplied by UK-based possible deception operatives, and evidence free “assessments” from Israel, obviously represent a grave national security concern for the United States.

    • April 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      “The fact that Kaszeta is now backing evidence free “Israeli intelligence” claims that Syria still possesses chemical weapons points to collusion between Israel and the fake “citizen investigative journalists” at Bellingcat.”
      But this is a sure way for Messieurs Higgins and Kaszeta to procure income.Their apparently ignorant reports are quoted because they fit Israelis’ narrative for Syria, namely, that the sovereign state of Syria should cease to exist. See the shameless genuflection of Atlantic Council, as well as the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, to the ignoramus Higgins. And it is only in the US that the ziocon Bloomberg would provide the scoundrel Kaszeta with the means to spread the debunked lies about Syria. What else could be expected from Israel-firsters.
      Here is an open letter from fearless Postol, “Fraudulent Claims Made by Dan Kaszeta:”
      “Dan Kaszeta describes himself in public statements as having “over twenty years of diverse experience” as “a former US Army and US Secret Service specialist on chemical, biological, and radiological defense.”
      Following the release on September 13, 2013 of the UN report on the use of chemicals in Syria, Mr. Kaszeta started making statements that the fact that hexamine was found by UN inspectors in soil samples and on metal fragments from chemical munitions indicated a “smoking gun” that connected the August 21, 2013 nerve agent attack to the Syrian government. In repeated articles and statements he has claimed that he has scientific evidence that supports this important claim, which if true could well indicate that the Syrian government was the perpetrator of the attack.
      Because my colleague, Richard Lloyd, and I have been drawn into scientific and technical analyses of the August 21, 2013 atrocity, and of the far ranging implications of Mr. Kaszeta’s claim, we decided to contact Mr. Kaszeta to get the information needed to confirm the scientific basis of his statements.
      During this extensive exchange, Mr. Kaszeta was unable to provide even a single technical document that was relevant to his claims.”
      https://cryptome.org/2014/08/postol-debunks-kaszeta.pdf

      • Marko
        April 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm

        I thought Postol made a mistake by getting deep in the weeds with Kaszeta on the whole hexamine issue. He insisted that its limited solubility in isopropanol precluded it serving as a useful acid-scavenger. I don’t get that at all. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. There’s not some rule-book that says you have to add the amine scavenger to the isopropanol before you combine the binaries. You can add it afterwards , and in the case of a binary munition , you could squirt it all around the inside of the shell and on top of the binary containers just before you seal up the munition. Enough would mix around to give you the bulk of the benefit available.The fact is , there appears to be a fair amount of evidence that Assad’s program used hexamine , and it could help explain some of the reports of rotten or fishy smells that have accompanied presumptive sarin attacks.

        As to hexamine being a smoking-gun for Assad’s guilt – which is why Postol contests its usage , I’m sure – the simple fact is that it’s just about as likely that al Nusra has access to some of Assad’s old stockpile as that Assad does himself. On top of it all , there’s the Libya sarin stockpile still floating around that could also be a source , and it’s quite likely Gaddafi used hexamine as a scavenger as well , based on the hundreds of tons of the stuff he was ordering.

        In short , the hexamine argument was a blind alley for Postol , at best , and a trap , at worst.

        • Marko
          April 26, 2017 at 12:19 am

          I should have pointed out what I meant by ” a trap , at worst “.

          You can see Postol setting the trap for himself in the quote cited by Anna , just above :” Mr. Kaszeta started making statements that the fact that hexamine was found by UN inspectors in soil samples and on metal fragments from chemical munitions indicated a “smoking gun”………..In repeated articles and statements he has claimed that he has scientific evidence that supports this important claim, which if true could well indicate that the Syrian government was the perpetrator of the attack.”

          Ouch , and wrong. It wouldn’t “well indicate” anything. At all.

        • Marko
          April 26, 2017 at 11:14 am

          http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/170425_-_evaluation_nationale_-_anglais_-_final_1_cle8ca411.pdf

          National evaluation
          Chemical attack of 4 April 2017 (Khan Sheikhoun)
          Clandestine Syrian chemical weapons programme

          Part 1 of the fix is in , courtesy of the French.

      • Abe
        April 26, 2017 at 1:52 am

        Kaszeta made hexamine a focus of both his 2013-2014 Brown Moses and 2017 Bellingcat bloviations.

        Regardless of all the smoke blown by Kaszeta, hexamine ain’t no smoking gun.

        Back in 2013, Kaszeta yammered about “things that waft away in the wind” http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000193059

        Interestingly, Kaszeta’s enumeration of possible “mechanisms of dissemination” in the 2013 Ghouta chemical incident near Damascus was confined to “rockets”, “artillery shells”, “aerial spray tanks”, and “a tank”.

        Kaszeta’s 2017 descriptions of imaginary “chemical realities” in Idlib remains fixated on the scenario of an “air-dropped Sarin bomb” in Idlib, despite the very visible fact of that hole in the middle of the road in Khan Shaykhun.

        Postol was right about Ghouta and he is right about Khan Shaykhun: the US “Government Assessments” are untenable in both instances.

        Kaszeta continues to do what he does best: strive mightily at passing gas. Trump definitely inhales. Deeply.

    • April 26, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Dear sir, Your comment is hihly interesting! Would you allow me to reproduce a big part of it on my blog? Regards, INTEL TODAY You can reach me by email or Twitter. (@INTEL_TODAY) — https://gosint.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/france-foreign-minister-blames-syrian-regime-for-chemical-attack/

  8. mike k
    April 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    The few people in the US government who know and respect the truth, are eliminated from their positions as quickly as possible by the “school for liars” that constitutes the almost absolute majority of those already in position. The initiation of new arrivals into this established school is rapid and thorough. Truth in DC reduces to “what gets me ahead.” Our whole national population is sinking into this narcissistic amoral morass. The few exceptions are regarded with mistrust and antagonism. Many gathered at this site know what I am saying from personal experience. How many people around you can you feel comfortable in opening your whole outlook to?

  9. Gregory Herr
    April 25, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    “All of this led Crooke to ask “whether Western intelligence agencies still retain an ability to speak-out to power.” Can they still, effectively, convince their governments not to assume that mainstream media information is accurate, but “rather to await careful investigation” before “rushing to judgment” on important issues?”

    Gee. I hadn’t realized our government got its information from the MSM. I thought it was the other way around. What they can assume is that the MSM, faithfully taking dictation, will be as accurate or inaccurate as they are allowed to be. Of course it’s mostly inaccurate, and the shot callers know it.

    “Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush became convinced that the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack.”

    Oh the boy wonder, with his “conviction”. Give me a break. Even that smirking chimp knew damn well Iraq had nothing to do with it. The “intelligence” was purposefully “fixed” and the Iraq invasion was planned before 9/11, that ruse used to enact all that has followed.

  10. Jerry
    April 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    In light of the recognition that the military-industrial complex and the intelligence agencies pursue their own agendas, once going so far as to assassinate a President, how and why should anyone trust them?

    (I think that the people with V.I.P.S. are honest and honorable. No doubt some other intelligence professionals are also. But some surely are not. Likewise, there are some good people in the military, but they are not all good.)

    • Marko
      April 26, 2017 at 12:41 am

      There’s some rumblings that the IC is hoping a whistleblower will come forward to expose this travesty , which deeply troubles many of them. That’s like a kid hoping he’ll get a pony this Christmas. Almost always , it doesn’t happen.

      Why don’t a bunch of the current IC guys that feel this way join up with some of those on the outside , like VIPS , and make a joint statement , one that couldn’t possibly be used to prosecute anyone involved. Try to get maximum public exposure , but with a simple , generalized statement. Something like :

      ” To all American citizens : We’d like you to know that your government has lied to you regarding the recent gas “attack” in Syria. They have committed both lies of commission and of omission , and of a magnitude that could impact substantially upon our decisions about going to war in Syria. We would like to provide you with this information that you most certainly deserve to know , but we can’t. You should demand from your representatives that it be provided to you. If you do , and they don’t , you will hear from us again.”

  11. Brad Benson
    April 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Bush and his ghostwriters wrote in his book that, if he had a chance to go after Saddam Hussein, he would. The book was released well before his Presidency. Therefore, any assessment that Bush believed the things that he was saying, is giving the guy way too much credit. Other than that, this is an excellent article.

  12. Bill Goldman
    April 27, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Professor Davidson summed it up in one phrase used in the article. It was that the US President uses the intelligence that he wants to hear. Period.

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