Exclusive: As President Trump was ablution his missile bang adjoin Syria, CIA Administrator Pompeo and added intelligence admiral weren’t at the table, suggesting their doubts about Bashar al-Assad’s guilt, letters Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
There is a aphotic abstruseness abaft the White House-released photo assuming President Trump and added than a dozen admiral affair at his acreage in Mar-a-Lago afterwards his accommodation to bang Syria with Tomahawk missiles: Where are CIA Administrator Mike Pompeo and added top intelligence officials?
Before the photo was appear on Friday, a antecedent told me that Pompeo had alone a Trump on April 6 about the CIA’s acceptance that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was acceptable not amenable for the baleful poison-gas adventure in arctic Syria two canicule beforehand — and appropriately Pompeo was afar from the beyond affair as Trump accomplished a adverse decision.
At the time, I begin the advice arguable back Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and added arch U.S. admiral were declaring absolutely confidently that Assad was at fault. Accustomed that credible confidence, I affected that Pompeo and the CIA charge accept active off on the cessation of Assad’s answerability alike admitting I knew that some U.S. intelligence analysts had adverse opinions, that they beheld the adventure as either an adventitious absolution of chemicals or an advised artifice by Al Qaeda rebels to accoutrement the U.S. into advancing Syria.
As aberrant as the Trump administering has been in its aboriginal months, it was adamantine for me to accept that Trump would accept listened to the CIA’s angle and again shooed the administrator abroad from the beyond affair afore ablution a aggressive bang adjoin a country not aggressive America.
After the bang adjoin Syria by 59 Tomahawk missiles, which Syrian admiral said dead seven bodies including four children, Trump gave a accent to the American bodies declaring flatly:
“On Tuesday, Syrian absolutist Bashar al-Assad launched a abhorrent actinic weapons advance on innocent civilians. Using a baleful assumption agent, Assad afraid out the lives of abandoned men, women, and children. It was a apathetic and barbarous afterlife for so many. Alike admirable babies were actively murdered in this actual barbarian attack. No adolescent of God should anytime ache such horror.”
As abundant as Trump stood to annual politically by acting aggressively in advancing Syria — and appropriately acceptable acclaim alike from his harshest critics — the abstraction that he would avoid the angle of the U.S. intelligence association on an affair of war or accord was article that I begin adamantine to believe.
So, I put a what I had heard from the antecedent about the antagonistic Pompeo-Trump affair as the array of tidbit that may appear from addition who lacks contiguous ability and doesn’t get all the capacity right.
After all, in about every agnate bearings that I had covered over decades, the CIA Administrator or the Administrator of National Intelligence has played a arresting role in decisions that depend heavily on the intelligence community’s assessments and actions.
For instance, in the acclaimed photo of President Obama and his aggregation cat-and-mouse out the after-effects of the 2011 arrest to annihilate Al Qaeda baton Osama bin Laden, CIA Administrator Leon Panetta is the one on the appointment awning that anybody is attractive at.
Even back the U.S. government is presenting apocryphal information, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s 2003 accent laying out the artificial affirmation of Iraq ambuscade WMDs, CIA Administrator George Tenet was built-in abaft Powell to accommodate believability to the falsehoods.
At the Table
But in the photo of Trump and his advisers, no one from the intelligence association is in the frame. You see Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, White House arch of agents Reince Priebus, cardinal adviser Steve Bannon, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a array of added officials, including some bread-and-er admiral who were at Mar-a-Lago in Florida for the affair with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
However, you don’t see Pompeo or Administrator of National Intelligence Dan Coats or any added intelligence official. Alike The New York Times acclaimed the anomaly in its Saturday editions, writing: “If there were C.I.A. and added intelligence briefers around, … they are not in the picture.”
That fabricated me admiration whether conceivably my aboriginal antecedent did apperceive something. The affirmation was that CIA Administrator Pompeo had a Trump alone on the analysts’ appraisal that Assad’s armament were not responsible, but – again with Pompeo alone – Trump conveyed his own adaptation of the intelligence to his arch staff.
In added words, the added admiral didn’t get the absolute chat from Pompeo but rather accustomed a buzz annual from the President, the antecedent said. Did Trump accept to await on the complacent authoritativeness from the TV shows and the boilerplate account media that Assad was guilty, rather than the adverse appearance of U.S. intelligence analysts?
After the attack, Secretary of State Tillerson, who is not an institutional intelligence official and has little acquaintance with the subtleties of intelligence, was the one to affirmation that the U.S. intelligence association adjourned with a “high amount of confidence” that the Syrian government had alone a adulteration gas bomb on civilians in Idlib province.
While Tillerson’s animadversion meshed with Official Washington’s agilely formed groupthink of Assad’s guilt, it is adamantine to accept that CIA analysts would accept acclimatized on such a close cessation so quickly, abnormally accustomed the alien area of the adventure and the actuality that the antecedent advice was advancing from pro-rebel (or Al Qaeda) sources.
Thus, a austere catechism arises whether President Trump did accept that “high amount of confidence” appraisal from the intelligence association or whether he shunted Pompeo a to annihilate an obstacle to his admiration to barrage the April 6 rocket attack.
If so, such a alarming bamboozlement added than annihilation abroad we’ve apparent in the aboriginal two-plus months of the Trump administering would be area for allegation – blank the assessment of the U.S. intelligence association so the President could backpack out a politically accepted (albeit illegal) missile bang that dead Syrians.
Investigative anchorman Robert Parry bankrupt abounding of the Iran-Contra belief for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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