The US says Syria launched a chemical weapons attack on its citizens last week. With US military action likely, it's vitally important for intelligence to be right this time.
US officials say that soon – perhaps as early as Wednesday – the US will release an intelligence report detailing evidence that Syria used chemical weapons on its own citizens.
“The intelligence community is working on an assessment ... it will come, and I think you can expect it this week,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday.
Mr. Carney and other administration officials say there is “little doubt” that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is guilty. Given that certainty, what sorts of evidence is the forthcoming intelligence report likely to contain?
For one thing, it’s possible it will reference intercepted communications. Last Wednesday, in the wake of a deadly chemical attack outside Damascus, a Syrian Ministry of Defense official exchanged “panicked” phone calls with the leader of a Syrian Army chemical weapons unit, according to an exclusive dispatch from Foreign Policy Magazine.
The ministry official wanted some answers about what had happened in the nerve agent strike, writes Foreign Policy’s Noah Shachtman.