Phil Giraldi, where to begin with this one
Retired CIA officer Phil Giraldi, writing for The American Conservative, ridicules the U.S. Treasury's allowing the so-called Syrian Support Group to use its non-profit status to raise money in the U.S. on behalf of the Free Syrian Army.
In late July Tim Geithner's Treasury Department, through its Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), approved a license allowing the U.S.-based "Syrian Support Group" (SSG) to provide otherwise-illegal financial assistance to the Free Syrian Army.
Giraldi takes off from a "bizarre" NPR interview with Brian Sayers (a former NATO official), who is the spokesman for the Syrian Support Group. After summarizing the interview, which includes Sayers claiming that the SSG could use its connections to "fill in the `intelligence gap'" on Syria, Giraldi writes:
"Don't know where to begin on this one. A private group being given 501(c)3 tax deductible status to raise money for an armed rebel group seeking to overthrow the government in a country with which the United States is not at war would appear to be outsourcing to the private sector the sort of thing that the CIA used to do.
And the money is supposed to be raised for non-lethal support but the group concedes that as money is fungible it will wind up purchasing weapons anyway. And the rebels, who are called freedom fighters even though they appear to have regular links with groups connected to al-Qaeda, are promising free elections, rights for minorities, and adherence to the Geneva Conventions.
For some reason the expression `useful idiots' comes to mind as well as the inevitable comparisons to Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, which was supported by the US and turned out real well in the end, fabricating intelligence to bring about an unnecessary war with Iraq and later passing American intelligence information on to Iran."