Less than two hours after that call, Syria's government-controlled media announced that "Israeli warplanes have violated international law and attacked a scientific research center in the Jamraya district of Damascus province." The Assad regime's state television claimed that "two innocent civilians were killed, and five were injured" in this "breach of Syrian sovereignty." European and U.S. news agencies speculated that the target may have been chemical weapons being moved out of the grasp of rebels fighting Bashar Assad's Iranian-supported army.
So what really happened? Was the target a research laboratory in Damascus province or a munitions convoy headed for Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon?
In fairness to my media colleagues, straight answers to such questions are hard to come by. The Syrians routinely lie about anything. They blame "Zionist aggressors" and "occupiers" -- meaning Israel -- for everything. And unlike the leak-prone, chest-thumping O-Team in Washington, the government of Israel rarely confirms or denies reports of military operations outside the Jewish state's borders.
"No comment" has become standard operating procedure for the Israeli government. In 2007, after reports surfaced in Western and Mideast media about an Israeli air force attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor, Israeli officials simply refused to talk about the event. In October of last year, Sudan's radical Islamist government protested an "Israeli air attack" that destroyed an Iranian-operated weapons depot in Khartoum. When asked about the validity of the claim, a spokesman for the Netanyahu government said, "We're not going to talk about whether that happened or not." And they didn't.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.