The Syrian Intelligence report
Most of this is nothing new. Well, I guess it could be argued that none of it is new. But here are the points I find interesting:
We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack.
Why does that need stating? Has anybody anywhere of any importance at all even speculated publicly that the videos and physical symptoms were fabricated? Isn't this some sort of "straw man" argument?
We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence. On the afternoon of August 21, we have intelligence that Syrian chemical weapons personnel were directed to cease operations. At the same time, the regime intensified the artillery barrage targeting many of the neighborhoods where chemical attacks occurred. In the 24 hour period after the attack, we detected indications of artillery and rocket fire at a rate approximately four times higher than the ten preceding days. We continued to see indications of sustained shelling in the neighborhoods up until the morning of August 26.
That certainly sounds damning on the surface when put like that, but I sure would like a direct quote. Let's break this down.
1) a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive
So, there was an officer or commander of some sort in the area. This is not surprising.
2) who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence.
This is the part where a direct quote would be useful. Would a command like "Nerve agents? Who ordered that? Anyone firing CWs must stop immediately!" be considered confirmation that "the regime" was using CWs?