Did Obama Mislead on Syria, Too?

Carol Platt Liebau

12/9/2013 3:33:00 PM - Carol Platt Liebau

At times, it's easy to be skeptical of the "scoops" obtained by journalist Seymour Hersh. There's been a lot he's wrong about. Even so, when he was a Bush critic, his work was given wide and respectful coverage by the MSM.

So it will be interesting to see what happens with his latest claims -- that President Obama withheld information that Syrian rebels in the (al Qaeda-friendly) al Nusra Front had the capacity to produce chemical weapons, and that Obama manipulated the timing and sequence of intelligence about the use of chemical weapons in Syria:

A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening.

According to Hersh, the administration had decided that Assad was responsible, and then went looking for evidence to justify that assessment. Keep in mind, of course, that the President was calling for American military action based on what Hersh clearly considers to be "cherry-picked" intelligence (ironic, given the left's criticisms of the Iraq War, where no "lie" by the President actually existed, contra the MSM narrative). Hersh writes:

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

If true, Hersh's reporting would explain a lot.