On the same day the House Intelligence Committee’s bombshell FISA memo was released, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quietly admitted the US has no evidence Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas against his own people.
Though a few major outlets reported on it, the bombshell admission was almost completely ignored.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.
“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”
He said he was not rebutting the reports.
“We’re looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions,” Mattis said.
He shifted the issue entirely by throwing out accusations that Assad used chlorine gas at some point during the Syrian civil war.
Mattis says it is clear that Assad’s government has weaponized and used chlorine gas in the Syrian civil war.
“We’re even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use,” he said. Sarin is a colorless and tasteless toxin that can cause respiratory failure leading to death.
Last April, the U.S. launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to what it called illegal Syrian use of chemical weapons. President Donald Trump said the attack was meant to deter further Syrian use of illegal weapons.