News Release

CIA Veterans: Obama Should Show Syria Evidence


RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at
McGovern is a veteran CIA analyst and briefer of presidents. His op-ed, “To Persuade Skeptics About Syria, Obama Should Follow Reagan’s Example,” appeared in the Miami Herald on Tuesday.

He said today: “The Obama administration has been able to mislead most Americans by conflating (1) the undisputed reality of chemical agent exposures near Damascus on August, and (2) the unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. has persuasive evidence that the event was a chemical weapons attack ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The ‘mainstream media’ had prepared Obama’s audience yesterday evening; all he felt he needed to say was: ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible.’ The American people deserve more.

“In view of the admission in the original four-page ‘Government Assessment’ that that ‘high confidence’ assessment falls ‘short of confirmation,’ Obama should ‘show the goods,’ even if this means revealing a sensitive source of collection (surely the Syrians will be shocked to learn about U.S. eavesdropping!). Ronald Reagan did this in April 1986, amid worldwide doubt about the evidence he claimed to have that Libya was responsible for the bombing of a Berlin disco, killing two American soldiers. Reagan showed a ‘decent respect for the opinions of mankind’ when he insisted that the Libyan-intercepted communication be made public.”

McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which was formed in Jan. 2003 before the attack on Iraq, to scrutinize dubious statements put out by Bush administration officials in the aftermath of 9/11. The group recently released a statement “Obama Warned on Syrian Intel,” in which 16 retired intelligence veterans, with a cumulative total of hundreds of years of experience, quoted the infamous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002 to warn the president that, as was the case 11 years ago on Iraq, “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” this time on Syria.