The CIA in 2012 proposed a detailed covert action plan designed to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, but President Obama declined to approve it, current and former U.S. officials tell NBC News.
It's long been known that then-CIA Director David Petraeus recommended a program to secretly arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in 2012 to pressure Assad. But a book to be published Tuesday by a former CIA operative goes further, revealing that senior CIA officials were pushing a multi-tiered plan to engineer the dictator's ouster. Former American officials involved in the discussions confirmed that to NBC News.
In an exclusive television interview with NBC News, the former officer, Doug Laux, describes spending a year in the Middle East meeting with Syrian rebels and intelligence officers from various partner countries. Laux, who spoke some Arabic, was the eyes and ears on the ground for the CIA's Syria task force, he says.
Laux, an Indiana native who joined the CIA in 2005 at age 23, says he wrote an "ops plan" that included all the elements he believed were necessary to remove Assad. He was not allowed to describe the plan, but he writes that his program "had gained traction" in Washington. His boss, the head of the Syria task force, regularly briefed members of the Congressional intelligence committees on what Laux was seeing, hearing and suggesting.Read the rest of the story HERE and view a related video below:
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