"Obama did not tell the whole story" on Bashar al-Assad's alleged involvement in a chemical weapons strike in Syria last August, begins Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh's latest piece. The investigation, published at the London Review of Books this weekend, argues that the Obama administration "cherry-picked intelligence" in order to make the case for a military strike against Syria, omitting indications that Syrian rebels were also capable of obtaining Sarin gas. Hersh is one of the country's best-respected investigative journalists, with an unparalleled track record of breaking big news. But while his latest work, called "Whose Sarin?" has gained substantial attention for the claims it contains, not everyone is convinced that Hersh got the story completely right this time.
According to multiple reports, Hersh first took "Whose Sarin?" to The New Yorker and The Washington Post, both of whom passed. While The New Yorker (where Hersh, a freelancer, regularly publishes his biggest scoops) did not comment on their reasons for not publishing the story, the Post reportedly rejected the piece because it didn't meet the paper's sourcing standards. The London Review of Books, apparently in response to questions about the piece's provenance, told the Huffington Post that Hersh's work was fact-checked by a former New Yorker fact checker before publication. Hersh's story relies on anonymous sources, which is how Hersh tends to work, as do most reporters who deal with the world of foreign intelligence. It's produced some of his best reporting.