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Defense One Boasts That Envoy Jeffrey Admits Lying to Trump on U.S. Troops in Syria

Nov. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—Ambassador James Jeffrey, who is retiring from the diplomatic service after serving as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s point man on Syria, has freely admitted in an interview with Defense One that he routinely misled President Donald Trump on the number of U.S. troops in Syria. The Nov. 12 posting is headlined, “Outgoing Syria Envoy Admits Hiding U.S. Troop Numbers; Praises Trump’s Mideast Record.”

Defense One is itself a debased source, part of the publications grouping owned by Lauren Powell Jobs, billionaire widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. But whatever the pedigree of Defense One, Jeffrey’s statements are provided as quotations. The piece has the edge of how to play a U.S. President for a fool. And the fact that Pompeo was Jeffrey’s boss in diddling the President, is not to be missed.

Jeffrey says that the routine of lying to the President began shortly after Trump first ordered U.S. troops withdrawn at the end of 2018. This order is cited as prompting the resignation of James Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Jeffrey said, “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there.” The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the roughly 200 troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019.

Brett McGurk, who had been the special envoy up to that time, also resigned, opening the position for Jeffrey, despite the fact that only two years earlier, Jeffrey had signed the infamous “Never Trump” letter that had been circulated among the neo-conservatives. For Jeffrey, Defense One writes, “the incident was far less cut-and-dried—but it is ultimately a success story that ended with U.S. troops still operating in Syria, denying Russian and Syrian territorial gains and preventing ISIS remnants from reconstituting.”

Trump issued the order again in October of 2019 but was once again “persuaded” to leave a residual force behind. Jeffrey is quoted, “What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal.” He said, “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”

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