File:Flag of Jabhat al-Nusra.jpg

Flag of Al-Nusra Front

In a piece that was rejected by both the New Yorker and Washington Post, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh writes that the Obama Administration cherry-picked Syria intelligence and that President Barack Obama misled the American public on the case that the Assad regime were the ones guilty of using sarin gas.

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack

It seems the Obama administration embraced the Bush foreign policy in more ways than one – not only has he continued the War on Terror indefinitely, he is manipulating (or at least trying to manipulate) the public with weak intelligence to justify military aggression.

But it may be even more interesting to note who Obama shifted blame away from.

In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

Yes, you read that correctly. According to Hersh, Obama went on TV and elsewhere presenting a distorted case for strikes on Assad while omitting the possibility that America’s sworn frenemy Al-Qaeda may have been responsible for the sarin gas attack.

If true, this goes beyond a sad commentary on the dishonesty of our public affairs. It would provide further evidence that the Obama Administration’s support for Al-Qaeda in Syria, already ongoing with arms sales, is deeper than many suspected.That Al-Qaeda has become a useful agent for American, Saudi, and Israeli interests in the region as a counter-balance to increasing Iranian influence.

Which begs the question, if Al-Qaeda is back in the American fold why are we drone striking them all over North Africa (illegally)? In Pakistan it is, presumably, to prevent Islamists from taking control of nuclear weapons and damaging the Karzai crime family in Afghanistan. But why a wider war if they are so useful in Syria that Obama is willing to deceive the American people to keep them out of the news?

Some inconvenient questions that may yield some inconvenient truths.