Rush Limbaugh raised the issue on Tuesday. The Russians have been adamant that it’s a possibility. The administration is denying it. And yet some have expressed concerns it could be true. The “it” is the possibility that the Syrian rebels — not Bashar Al Assad — are the ones who used chemical weapons recently in Syria.
The article — “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack” — was written by Yossef Bodansky, a once sought after analyst who made numerous appearances on C-Span and other prominent news outlets. He raised the possibility that the rebels and the U.S. administration were behind any chemical weapons attack. And it was his article that Limbaugh spent parts of two hours discussing on Tuesday.
But try finding Bodansky. It’s hard. He is now more of a “mystery man.”
TheBlaze spent several days trying to track the man down, who is now senior editor for Defense & Foreign Affairs magazine. Bodansky’s Amazon.com bio also lists him as “a former senior consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State,” and says he is a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
When we finally reached his colleague of more than 50-years, Gregory Copley (editor-in-chief of the magazine), we were told that Bodansky “no longer does interviews.”
But Copley, who is also president of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), defended the work. He said his intelligence analysis group believes “the U.S. knew in advance of the attacks in Syria.”
“That’s where we stand,” he added.
He also said Bodansky, who was once director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare from 1988 to 2004, compiled three reports on the Syrian chemical attacks. TheBlaze was given all of Bodansky’s reports.
Bodansky, who also is director of research at the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), contends that prior to the chemical weapons attack, Syrian opposition were given weapons from Turkish and Qatari intelligence personnel with the support of U.S. intelligence operatives in advance of the attacks.
This reporter questioned Bodansky’s theory, asking Copley if this is in fact true, “what about the evidence found by Great Britain, Germany, Israel, France and the Arab League that suggests Assad was responsible for the attacks, can they be wrong?”
Copley, whose intelligence collection group is based in Washington D.C., said none of the countries mentioned have provided solid evidence that Assad initiated the attack.
“If you read Mr. Bodansky’s first piece, the U.S. was actively knowledgable of the impending attack and had forces in the region ramping up additional supplies to the rebels on the ground,” Copley added. But not just did the U.S. have knowledge, he claims, but the American government was even an active player in insuring those attacks would take place.
Copley said “canisters” were used in the chemical attack and that the canisters contained markings from Saudi Arabia. He added that no evidence has been presented by the U.S. that Assad’s regime used rockets to deliver the Sarin, and that his group gathered intelligence that verified that “Saudis were in touch with the U.S. on the impending chemical strike in Syria.”
That information was garnered from Turkish sources, who said U.S. intelligence “promised the Syrian rebel groups that they were going to deliver an incident that would allow the U.S. to invade.” In other words, he has no doubt the Obama administration was behind the attack.
However, U.S. officials told TheBlaze that this is “nothing more than lies and disinformation.”
“The U.S., France, Germany and many other nations have tangible evidence that the chemical attack was initiated by (President Bashar Al) Assad,” the official said. “The White House released time-line intelligence on the attack and the evidence points to Assad, not rebels and certainly not the U.S. This is a pure lie filled with propaganda that only serves the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran and any other enemy of America.”
Copley said Bodansky’s research is solid and countered that the administration “has not produced solid evidence linking Assad to the attack. If Germany and Israel also have evidence of the attack, why don’t they produce it for the world to see?”
Limbaugh asked his audience to think about the number of news articles and people who question the evidence that Assad’s regime was responsible for the Syrian attack.
“Four different people now, and the third one was just this morning, are asking, ‘What if Bashar didn’t do it? What if Bashar is being framed?” Limbaugh said before reading old headlines suggesting Syrian rebels may have gotten control of some chemical weapons in the past.
He then went on to reference Bodansky’s article that states “there is a growing volume of new evidence” that the White House knew and possibly helped plan a Syrian chemical weapon attack by the opposition.
Bodansky lists a number of meetings between major state players prior to the chemical bombings that “raise the question of the extent of foreknowledge of US Intelligence, and therefore, the Obama White House.”
“All the sources consulted — both Syrian and Arab — stressed that officials of the ‘Mukhabarat Amriki’ actively participated in the meetings and briefings in Turkey,” Bodansky writes. “Therefore, at the very least, they should have known that the opposition leaders were anticipating ‘a war-changing development’: that is, a dramatic event which would provoke a US-led military intervention.”
“The mere fact that weapon storage sites under the tight supervision of US Intelligence were opened up and about a thousand tons of high-quality weapons were distributed to the opposition indicates that US Intelligence anticipated such a provocation and the opportunity for the Syrian opposition to exploit the impact of the ensuing US and allied bombing. Hence, even if the Obama White House did not know in advance of the chemical provocation, they should have concluded, or at the very least suspected, that the chemical attack was most likely the ‘war-changing development’ anticipated by the opposition leaders as provocation of US-led bombing. Under such circumstances, the Obama White House should have refrained from rushing head-on to accuse Assad’s Damascus and threaten retaliation, thus making the Obama White House at the very least complicit after the act.”
Still, Limbaugh was skeptical.
“I’m not asserting any of this to be true,” Limbaugh said. “I just found it now in a very credible place, and you know me. I don’t go with the flow of conventional wisdom — and I’m not a conspiracy kook, either. This makes perfect sense to me that Bashar could be set up. So I’m just putting this out as a possibility, because it’s already out there. I didn’t put it out there.
“I’m just reminding you and sharing with you what’s there,” he added. “It’s up to you.”