US intel was aware of chemical attack plan but failed to stop it

The American media reported Thursday morning that US intelligence services intercepted communications between Syrian military officers and chemical warfare experts before the April 4 gas attack on the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun in which more than 100 people, including women and children, were killed.
Neither the experts nor the type or content of the communications were identified, but the reports said the information was in the hands of US intelligence services before the bombardment.
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources: The US National Security Agency regularly intercepts communications from Syria, such as from senior officials, the Syrian and Russian militaries, the various rebel groups and terrorist organizations operating in the country.
The interception is carried out via intelligence-gathering systems on American and other ships in the Middle East as well as via other types of technology such as spy satellites and drones.
The intelligence collected and stored in US military and intelligence databases includes not only e-mail, but also calls from Syrian military communication devices, landline phones and cellular phones, as well as the location and length of the communications.
It is not unusual, however, for this huge amount of data to negatively effect the ability to make operational decisions in real time, as in the case of the calls between the Syrian chemical warfare experts and air force officers.
Thus, large intelligence organizations have adopted artificial intelligence systems to process the huge amount of data, help intelligence officers provide relevant data in real time, and prevent incidents such as the deadly gas attack in Idlib province. Identification of the intercepted communications is supposed to provide advance warnings when needed.
It should be noted that the reports on Thursday linking the Syrian military to chemical warfare experts, who must be known to American intelligence, are a double-edged sword. If the information on the attack, which US President Donald Trump has called a slaughter, was in the hands of US intelligence, why wasn't it used to prevent the bombardment?
There is only one conclusion: Although the raw data on the plan to attack Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas had been placed in US intelligence databases before the strike, it was not processed, filtered or added to relevant intelligence data. As a result, it was not brought to the attention of US military commanders, let alone decisionmakers in the Trump administration.
It is no wonder that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has repeatedly demanded evidence of what he calls the US accusations against Syria. It is clear to him that although Washington has the evidence, it will never reveal the sources of intelligence or the identity of those cooperating with its intelligence-gathering efforts. Thus, Russia can repeatedly accuse the US of brutally attacking Syria without any evidence, and the US will not admit that American intelligence agencies knew in advance about the attack and failed to prevent it. 

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