Donald Trump confirms covert CIA programme in Syria on Twitter

US officials say Mr Trump ended programme over concerns about re-establishing relationship with Russia

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 25 July 2017 07:14
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Donald Trump tweets about 'ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad'
Donald Trump tweets about 'ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad'

Donald Trump appears to have inadvertently confirmed the existence of a covert CIA programme in a Twitter post.

In a series of tweets, the US President attacked The Washington Post in connection with a story about the termination of US efforts to aid rebels fighting to oust Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

He wrote: "The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad."

The tweet appeared to refer to a report claiming the US President was phasing out the secret programme to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, a policy began by Barack Obama in 2013.

It had been a covert programme until Mr Trump's tweet confirmed its existence.

"If the media reports are true, the President of the United States just confirmed a CIA covert action program. On Twitter," Ned Price, a former CIA employee, wrote on Twitter.

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US officials told the newspaper in a story published on 19 July ending the secret program was related to Mr Trump's concerns about re-establishing a working relationship with Russia.

Mr Trump was reported to have made the decision nearly a month ago, after an Oval office meeting with CIA director mike Pompeo and national security adviser H R McMaster.

At the time, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to discuss the ending of the programme, telling reporters she didn't know if it had come up in discussions Mr Trump had with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

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