The White House on Tuesday denied that key agencies were out of the loop when the administration fired a verbal warning shot to Syria late Monday.
“In response to several inquiries regarding the Syria statement issued last night, we want to clarify that all relevant agencies–including State, DoD, CIA and ODNI–were involved in the process from the beginning,” a White House official said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Anonymous leaks to the contrary are false.”
Press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement issued late Monday that the U.S. had “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack” by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime “that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” Spicer likened Syria’s activities to similar preparations it made before its April chemical weapons attack, which killed more than 80 people and drew retaliatory airstrikes from the Trump administration.
“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Spicer said. “If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
BuzzFeed reported that five U.S. defense officials said they weren’t aware that the White House was planning to release its statement.