Washington: US officials say intelligence agencies did not detect the Syrian regime readying a massive chemical weapons attack in the days ahead of the strike, only piecing together what had happened after the fact.
Senior US officials say intercepted communications of commanders telling Syrian military units to prepare for the strikes against a Damascus suburb on August 21 were in the hands of US intelligence agencies, but had not yet been "processed."
That explains why the White House did not warn the regime as it had when detecting previous preparations for chemical strikes.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the intelligence publicly.
A spokesman for the director of national intelligence confirmed today that US intelligence did not detect the massive chemical weapons attack beforehand.