- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Obama warned of earlier sarin attacks in Syria, stayed mum until deaths hit masses
Other sources in the intelligence community, who declined to comment on the record, suggested generally that the Obama administration may have been reluctant to aggressively respond to the previous incidents because they did not trigger the same level of global media attention generated by last month’s attack near Damascus.
The Obama administration has said more than 1,400 people, hundreds of them children, were killed in the attack, which was followed almost immediately by horrific videos, photos and witness accounts across social media facets of the Internet.
Some respected international organizations have concluded, however, that the prior incidents in Syria also involved the nerve agent sarin. In a posting on its website last week, Human Rights Watch said that “there is laboratory evidence that Sarin gas has been used in a previous attack in April on Jobar, near Damascus, when a photographer for Le Monde newspaper who was present at the time later tested for exposure to Sarin.”
The Obama administration was clearly aware of such reports. Roughly two months after the April incident, the White House released a statement attributed to deputy national security adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes, who said the U.S. intelligence agencies assess “that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”
“The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete,” Mr. Rhodes said in the June 13 statement. “The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons — or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups — is a red line for the United States.”
• Washington Times reporter Ashish Kumar Sen contributed to this article.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Al Qaeda to launch English-language Web magazine 'Resurgence'
- Namibia official defends safari auctions of rhinos,saying funds aid conservation
- U.S. urges direct talks between Russia, new Ukraine government
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Special congressional panel to investigate FBI contact with bin Laden
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Unanimous Senate passes bill on military sex assault to give victims more say in prosecution
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- George Zimmerman signs autographs at Orlando gun show
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again