Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that the administration of President Barack Obama, in particular the CIA, has knowingly armed militant Islamists in Syria, including the Islamic State.
"Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office -- and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him -- has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff," Hersh writes in the London Review of Books. "Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped."
Hersh writes that a highly classified 2013 Defense Intelligence Agency/Joint Chiefs of Staff report on Syria forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to "chaos" and possibly to Islamist extremists taking over Syria.
Hersh reports that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, told him that his agency sent a "constant stream" of warnings to the "civilian leadership" about the dire consequences of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.