The US has zero intelligence to claim a chemical attack took place in a rebel-held area in Syria, nor does it have access, former CIA officer and counter-terrorism specialist Philip Giraldi says.
Giraldi joined RT America’s ‘News with Ed’ to discuss Washington’s condemnation of Russia’s policy in Syria, which amounts to “pushing all the buttons it can” to remain relevant, he said.
RT: How do you assess what is going on between the US and Russia right now over Syria?
Philip Giraldi: The reality here is that the US is a bit player in the resolution of the conflict. The US did very little – ISIS was basically defeated by Russia, Iran and the Syrian government. The US feels it’s left out in the cold. So it is pushing all the buttons as it can. We have again this claim of chemical weapons taking place in an area controlled by the rebels, which has no credibility whatsoever.
RT: How good is US intelligence on what’s going on in Syria, in your opinion?
PG: I would say we have zero intelligence in terms of something like this – a claimed chemical attack taking place in an area… where no one, including the US, has access… They certainly have satellite photos showing whatever the rebels have been able to stage. They probably have some other sensors and things, but they don’t have good intelligence on this sort of thing.
RT:What would you think if Donald Trump ordered another cruise missile attack to counter this? What would that do?
PG: I have to hope that he wouldn’t consider it, because the last one turned out to be, in political terms, a bad move, in terms of the fact that after the attack, it became very clear the intelligence it was based on was very poor. So I hope he’s learned his lesson from that. But on the other hand, he is extremely impulsive, and might try to do something like this – this would be a very bad precedent.
RT: Does it bother you that Secretary of State Tillerson speaks with such conviction on this issue about who is responsible for chemical weapon usage?
PG: Yes, it bothers me in terms of what he is saying, what Nikki Haley is saying. Essentially they… are saying things that they don’t know. And it is very clear to me as a former intelligence officer that they don’t know it, because if they had the evidence, there would be ways of conveying it. They haven’t conveyed anything that, to me, is significant.
RT: Does this sound like future covert operations could be on the horizon for the US in Syria?
PG: The whole idea of this residual force that they’ve been pushing to stay in Syria, which the US is in illegally anyway, is part of this. There are certainly covert actions probably being planned. Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA, has been very clear that the US is going to get, as he puts it, “vicious.” And “vicious” would certainly include covert action in Syria.