AP: U.S. Official Alleges Russia Knew About Syria’s Chemical Attack on Civilians in Advance
by Leslie Salzillo –
On Monday, the Associated Press ran an uncharacteristically vague and somewhat mysterious story about a Washington official who is stating Russia was well aware, in advance, of the Syrian chemical attack that killed 80 innocent civilians last week. Donald Trump said the images of the children prompted him to authorize the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian base days after the chemical attack. Given the ineffectiveness of his strike, Trump’s actual motives are still in question, as well as his ties to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.
AP journalists Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor report:
The official said a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.
The official does state that U.S. has no proof of Russia’s actual participation in the chemical attack itself, but the U.S. official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital “couldn’t have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.”
The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity, didn’t give precise timing for when the drone was in the area, where more than 80 people were killed. The official also didn’t provide details for the military and intelligence information that form the basis of what the Pentagon now believes.
A second anonymous AP source remains more guarded.
Another U.S. official cautioned that no final American determination has been made that Russia knew ahead of time that chemical weapons would be used. That official wasn’t authorized to speak about internal administration deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Burns and Baldor write that this is the first time Washington has accused Russia of being associated in any chemical attack involving innocent civilians.
Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren’t sure whether Russia or Syria operated the drone. The official said the U.S. is now convinced Russia controlled the drone. The official said it still isn’t clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital, because the Syrians also fly Russian-made aircraft.
Read the full AP story here.
If this news can be confirmed, it will put Russia in a “grave” position worldwide, as well as further complicate and muddy the investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with Vladimir Putin before and after the 2016 presidential election.
And if true, besides being sickening, it’s mind-boggling that Putin would think that with all the technology and information available today, something like this would go undiscovered.
This story is developing and more will most likely be revealed.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos