Sunday, April 06, 2014

White House Refutes Seymour Hersh

White House says they provided answers to Sy Hersh earlier:

We have seen Mr. Hersh's latest story, which is based solely on information from unnamed sources and which reaches conclusions about the 21 Agustos chemical weapons attack in Syria that are completely off-base. The following are relevant on-record rebuttals we provided to Mr. Hersh's fact checker in advance of publication from ODNI Director of Communications and Spokesperson Shawn Turner and National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden:

In response to your question about weapons moving from Libya and the suggestion that others could have been responsible for the CW attack, on the record from Shawn Turner:

The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible
“We’re not going to comment on every inaccurate aspect of this narrative, but to be clear: the Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21 We have made that judgment based upon intelligence collected by the United States and by our partners and allies. It is a view that is shared overwhelmingly by the international community and has led to unprecedented cooperation in the dismantling of Assad’s CW stockpiles.  The suggestion that there was an effort to suppress or alter intelligence is simply false. Likewise, the idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.”

In response to your question about a classified paper on the Syrian rebels’ chemical-weapons capabilities, on the record from Shawn Turner:

“No such paper was ever requested or produced by Intelligence Community analysts.”    

A fixed deadline of September 2, 2013 is completely fabricated.

In answer to your questions about military planning, on the record from Caitlin Hayden:

“We have long said that all options were on the table in Syria and that our military was doing appropriate contingency planning, as you’d expect them to do.  The President said publicly on August 31, 2013 that he had determined that it was in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. He said that the purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.  But the notion that the President ordered our military to undertake action in Syria by a fixed deadline of September 2, 2013 is completely fabricated. As the President said when he addressed the nation on August 21 even though he possessed the authority to order military strikes, he believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take the debate to Congress. That’s what he did, and on September 10 asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force so we could pursue the diplomatic path we are now on and that is resulting in the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons.”

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