Last evening I posted on a story by the AP that claimed “Russia” knew in advance of the chemical attack in Syria. As I pointed out, the story was both nebulous (what did “Russia” mean in the context of the story) and significant, because any scenario speaks to either Russian complicity in the attack or to their lack of ability to control the actions of their forces in Syria.
Now the Pentagon is saying “wait a minute.”
A Department of Defense spokesman discounted an Associated Press report that claimed Russia knew in advance about the chemical weapons attack in Syria last week that left more than 80 people dead.
“I’ve seen nothing that corroborates this definitive statement,” Major Jamie Davis told the Daily Caller in a statement Monday. “We continue to review the available intelligence surrounding this incident.”
Though Davis noted that the DOD is continuing to assess the details of the situation, he noted they have found nothing so far that could verify the AP story.
The critical point, I think, is that the AP story relied upon one anonymous source. The fact that the person isn’t identified as anything but a “senior U.S. official” hints that they are not in Defense, the intelligence community, or in the National Security Council. Did the “senior U.S. official” overstate the story? Do they have their own agenda that includes stampeding the administration on Syria? Did they get it right and Defense isn’t ready to make that statement in public? We have no way of knowing. But the fact that “Russia” isn’t clarified in the AP report gives reason to doubt the statement.