In their fact-checking feature, the Washington Post gave former national security adviser Susan Rice “four Pinocchios” on Monday for claims she made in January about Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Rice, who has been the subject of intense criticism in recent weeks stemming from her role in the surveillance of Trump campaign associates, went on record only three months ago to say that Bashar al-Assad was no longer in possession of chemical weapons.
That claim – that Assad had given up their chemical weapons years ago – was shown to be bogus after last week’s devastating attack.
“The reality is that there were continued chemical-weapons attacks by Syria,” the Post confirmed.
Rice made the claim in an interview with NPR shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated. While patting herself and the rest of the Obama administration on the back, Rice said they had been able to work together to “find a solution” to the Syrian crisis without using military force against the regime.
“We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile,” she said at the time.
The Washington Post hardly needed to lay their “4 Pinocchios” rating down on Obama’s former adviser; the sight of Syrian citizens gasping for air last week was more than enough to prove that she was (at the very least) quite wrong in her claim.
But what is valuable in the Post’s fact-check is their assessment that Rice was not just ignorant but willfully lying about the situation in Syria.
“The Obama administration had a tendency to oversell what was accomplished, perhaps because Obama received so much criticism for not following through on an attack if Syria crossed what Obama had called ‘a red line,’” the Post wrote in their analysis. “U.S. and international officials had good evidence that Syria had not been completely forthcoming in its declaration and possibly retained sarin and VX nerve agent.”
They pointed out that Rice left plenty of information out of her categorical claim.
“She did not explain that Syria’s declaration was believed to be incomplete and thus was not fully verified — and that the Syrian government still attacked citizens with chemical weapons not covered by the 2013 agreement,” they wrote. “That tipped her wordsmithing toward a Four.”
That makes Rice a known liar (not for the first time), and that should be taken into consideration when she says she did not unmask the names of Trump’s associates for political purposes. Obama’s minions will go to any lengths necessary to avoid responsibility for their actions; lying to the press, all things considered, may be the least of them.