Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Yet another ObamaLeak!

Obama WARN Act

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr)

Another day, another ObamaLeak. This morning’s New York Times headline reads: “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition.” The paper reports the classified details of yet another ongoing covert operation:

A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government…

By helping to vet rebel groups, American intelligence operatives in Turkey hope to learn more about a growing, changing opposition network inside of Syria and to establish new ties. “C.I.A. officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people,” said one Arab intelligence official who is briefed regularly by American counterparts.

American officials and retired C.I.A. officials said the administration was also weighing additional assistance to rebels, like providing satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements. The administration is also considering whether to help the opposition set up a rudimentary intelligence service. But no decisions have been made on those measures or even more aggressive steps, like sending C.I.A. officers into Syria itself, they said.

Note the sources listed: “according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers” … “American officials and retired C.I.A. officials said” … “a senior American officer who receives classified intelligence reports….” The disclosures coming out of the administration can no longer be called “leaks.” They are more like a flood, and they are doing immense damage to our national security. This will only serve to strengthen calls for a special counsel to investigate ObamaLeaks.

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