The Fact Checker blog at the Washington Post has taken the unusual step of looking at a months-old statement made by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice about Syria's chemical weapons. She won't be happy to learn that she earned the worst ranking of Four Pinocchios (only "whoppers" get four). On Jan. 16, Rice told NPR: “We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. … We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.” She was referring to the 2013 deal struck by President Obama, who refrained from attacking and instead got Bashar al-Assad to turn over 1,300 tons of chemical weapons, supposedly his full arsenal.
With the US now accusing Assad of another chemical weapons strike on his people, the fact-checking blog finds plenty of evidence over the last year or two that Assad failed to fully comply with the deal and was continuing to make and use such weapons. What's more, the 2013 deal didn't cover chlorine, and the Treasury Department sanctioned Assad for using it in warfare just four days before Rice's statement. If you look back at her words, Rice qualifies them somewhat with the word "known," but the blog says that doesn't cut it. "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. That tipped her wordsmithing toward a Four." Click for the full piece. (Read more Susan Rice stories.)