Defense Experts Left In The Dark: Trump Threatens Syria

Syria President Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin

On Monday, the Trump White House launched a stern warning to Syria, threatening President Bashar al-Assad with retaliation if his regime conducts another chemical weapon attack on the civilian population. Surprisingly, many defense officials said that they first learned about the situation in Syria the moment the White House issued the warning as they hadn’t been consulted on the matter by Trump’s assistants.

White House Threatens Syria

The White House warned Syria that it would “pay a heavy price” if it decides to repeat the April 4th move and launch a sarin gas attack on its population. In April, Trump authorized a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base days after the attack.

If Mr Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,

A statement from the Trump White House reads.

However, multiple defense officials talked to Buzzfeed to express their bafflement over the intelligence used in the statement. According to the news outlet, five U.S. defense officials told its reporters Monday night that they weren’t aware of the origin of a potential chemical attack in Syria. One of the sources was a senior official working at the US Central Command, who said he “had no idea” where that attack might originate from.

The Statement a Big Surprise for Administration’s Defense Experts

The officials also said that they weren’t briefed in advance on the statement, so, the announcement surprised them as much as it surprised the public. They noted that such statements are usually the joint work of multiple intelligence agencies and departments.

The White House dismissed the claims labeling them as fake news. A spokesperson said that “all relevant agencies” such as ODNI, CIA, DOD, and the State Department were briefed on the statement before being released. “Anonymous leaks” saying otherwise is just “false,” the spokesperson added.
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