US President Donald Trump ignored reports from US intelligence that said they had no evidence Syria had used sarin to attack a rebel-held town, Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says.
Hersh is most famous for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War. He also uncovered the abuse of prisoners by US personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In a report published by the German newspaper Welt on Sunday, he describes how the Trump administration mishandled the media frenzy after the Syrian bombing of the rebel-held town Khan Sheikhoun in April.
Trump chose to ignore reports compiled by American intelligence and the military that contradicted the prevailing media narrative accusing Damascus of using sarin gas to kill civilians, the report says. Instead, he ordered his military to prepare options for a response, which they did.
The subsequent Tomahawk attack on the Syrian Shayrat Air Base did less damage that the White House claimed, as was apparently intended by the military planners of the operation, Hersh said. The US mainstream media failed to question the government’s narrative of the situation, instead giving Trump what appears to be the pinnacle achievement of his presidency so far.
“None of this makes any sense,” one US officer told colleagues upon learning of the White House decision to retaliate against Syria. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack… the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth… I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”