Though officials at the highest levels of US government—including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama himself—have gone public this week to announce the certainty of U.S. intelligence that links an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last week to the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, the Associated Press reports on Thursday, citing both intelligence officials and anonymous government sources, that the evidence so far compiled is by no means “a slam dunk”.
According to AP:
Though all the officials AP spoke with did so “on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the intelligence report publicly,” the internal intelligence report referred to is the one that will be presented to members of some members of Congress on Thursday as the intelligence committees from both the House and Senate are expected to be briefed on what the U.S. government says it knows, and at least to some extent, what it doesn’t know about what happened in Syria.
Among the deficiencies in that knowledge, the report continues:
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These insights—as difficult tp corroborate for the general public as the administration’s public claims perhaps—herald back to more fundamental to more fundamental questions about the rush to intervene in Syria with so many “what ifs” still circling, especially when the regional stakes are so high and the standing and widely shared belief that a US military strike—with or without quality intelligence or all the right information—will only make matters worse in the region, not better.