Covert Action

Senator Udall Discusses Covert Action in Syria to Train 2-3K Moderate Rebels

By Jack Goldsmith
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 1:46 PM

From yesterday’s Senate Arms Services Committee Hearing (at about the 2:23 mark):

Senator UDALL (NM):  And my question to you has to do with – and this is all public information, but everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years. And probably the most true measure of the effectiveness of moderate forces would be, what has been the effectiveness over that last two years of this covert operation, of training 2,000 to 3,000 of these moderates? Are they a growing force? Have they gained ground? How effective are they? What can you tell us about this effort that's gone on, and has it been a part of the success that you see that you're presenting this new plan on?

Secretary of State KERRY:  Uh, Senator, I hate to -- I hate to do this, but I know it's been written about in the public domain, that there is, quote, "a covert operation." But I can't -- and I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program.

Senator UDALL: OK, well, I want to say to Chairman Menendez, to me the key here on effectiveness is what has happened these past two years.  So I think we should have a briefing, by our Committee, specifically on what has gone on in that area from our intelligence people.