[Ed. – As Howard Portnoy wrote earlier, it’s not complicated. And it appears the uncomplicated awareness that Assad still had chemical weapons went up as high as it goes in the Obama administration.]
If this strike was arranged to avoid hitting sarin storage facilities, the question arises: did the Obama Administration know that such depots still existed after its “historic” deal that supposedly removed all Syria’s chemical weapons?
The signs point to yes. In Congressional testimony last February, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged “gaps and inconsistencies in Syria’s declaration,” validating reports that Syria was still hiding banned chemicals at undisclosed locations. And on its way out the door in January of this year, the Obama Treasury quietly introduced new sanctions against Syrian officials involved in chemical warfare. Buried in the language sanctioning a particular official was a telling admission: “As of 2016, Abbas has continued operating at locations in Syria associated with chemical warfare-related missions.”
Whether or not the Obama Administration knew of this particular sarin facility, then, they clearly knew that Syrians were still clinging to their stockpiles at several locations.