Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that it would be a bad idea to share intelligence with Russia on the conflict in Syria.
“The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians,” Dunford told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on U.S. national security challenges and ongoing military operations. “I do not believe it would be a good idea to share intelligence with the Russians.”
The comments by the highest-ranking military officer Thursday morning are out of step with the Obama administration’s latest efforts to solve the years-long civil war in Syria, which involve cooperating with Moscow given the success of a cessation of hostilities.
The Obama administration’s agreement with Russia, announced on Sept. 9 by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, would involve the United States and Russia working together to develop military strikes against Nusrah, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and the Islamic State given a sustained period of reduced violence. The United States and Russia also agreed to share information to establish a “Joint Implementation Center” to cooperate in targeting terror groups.