The Pentagon’s chief spokesperson said Tuesday that leaks from anonymous officials alleging that it did not know in advance of a White House statement about Syria are “false.”
“[Department of Defense] knew about the White House statement and provided edits in advance of its release. Anonymous leaks to the contrary are false or misinformed,” said Pentagon press secretary Dana White.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer had issued a statement Monday evening that said the U.S. detected potential preparations by the Syrian regime for another chemical weapons attack and warned it against doing so.
Shortly after, the New York Times reported that “several military officials were caught off guard by the statement from President Trump’s press secretary.”
Although it added, “It was unclear how closely held the intelligence regarding a potential chemical attack was,” the report spurred other news reports that the Pentagon was caught off guard by the statement.
BuzzFeed News also reported that five anonymous defense officials said they had “no idea” that the White House was planning to release the statement. One of the officials was reportedly at U.S. Central Command.
The White House also batted down the suggestion that the Pentagon was unaware of the statement and called the leaks false.
“In response to several inquiries regarding the Syria statement issued last night, we want to clarify that all relevant agencies — including State, DoD, CIA and ODNI — were involved in the process from the beginning,” a White House official said.
“Anonymous leaks to the contrary are false,” the official added.