Published for The Washington Post, October 15, 2012

First there was the Libya coverup. Now, we have the Syria coverup.

In last week’s vice presidential debate, Joe Biden asserted that the United States was working to isolate al-Qaeda in Syria by ensuring that aid was directed to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. “We are working hand and glove with the Turks, with the Jordanians, with the Saudis, and with all the people in the region attempting to identify the people who deserve the help so that when Assad goes — and he will go — there will be a legitimate government that follows on, not an al-Qaeda-sponsored government that follows on,” Biden declared.

Paul Ryan immediately challenged Biden’s claim, saying that the administration’s inaction has allowed al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Syria. “The longer this has gone on, the more people, groups like al-Qaeda are going in,” Ryan said, adding, “We could have more easily identified the Free Syrian Army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place.”

Biden denied it, declaring: “We are in the process now — and have been for months — in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria. That is underway.”

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