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Politicizing Intelligence on Syria

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
March 11, 2012
Weekly Standard


The Obama administration is politicizing intelligence on Syria. What does "politicizing intelligence" mean? Using intel, or more often partial intel, to produce an effect in line with White House policies rather than giving a full picture of a particular situation.

The most recent proof is a story that the Associated Press carried on March 10, written by intelligence reporter Kimberly Dozier. Dozier reported straight what she was told—but therein lies the tale. Sometimes reporters get a scoop or a special insight by finding one or two members of the intel community who are willing to talk if guaranteed anonymity. In this case, Dozier was among several reporters briefed by three senior intelligence community officials. That kind of organized, orchestrated briefing requires clearance at the top.

What did the senior three intel officials tell reporters about the military situation in Syria? That "President Bashar Assad commands a formidable army," "has assembled a highly professional, 330,000-man army plus reserves that was built and trained to invade Israel," and has "formidable" air defenses.

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