msnbc | August 04, 2012
>> interesting, you never know who's watching in the stands and the personal stories as well. katy tur, thanks for bringing it to us.
>>> the controversies of the first week of competition, plus the also revelations about queen elizabeth 's 007 olympic mission. that was so rich. i
>>> we have new footage from aleppo where rebels continue to fight back while the largest city is bombarded by fighter planes in the sky and tanks on the ground. this comes as we learn that president obama has authorized the cia to see kretly support the syrian rebels as it enters its 17th month. the managing editor of foreign policy magazine who wrote an excellent piece why president obama must be cautious on syria. that was a good one, blake. what's the latest there?
>> the rebels have really made astonishing gains over the last few weeks and there was that dramatic inkurgs into damascus when they were able to kill four top security officials of the regime. this regime is reel beingiing right now but hasn't cracked. they have the tanks and helicopter gunships and for the time being the upper hand. it looks like their control is slipping and they are more high level defections every day.
>> our announcement that we've learned that the president has authorized secret aid. you talk about their ability to take out these four leaders in the syrian government, talking about the rebels of course. is that thanks to cia aid and other kinds of aid?
>> i highly doubt it. the finding that president obama signed was a nonlethal finding. so that means that the united states can give anything short of weapons that can be used to --
>> but with cia , you can give intelligence.
>> well, you know, it's quite possible that the cia had information on where these people were, but to be honest, i think the opposition has a better idea. these are people who went to high school with some of the top figures in the regime. they know who they are. they are family friends in a lot of cases. i think the syrians probably have better information on this than the cia does.
>> read for me what's behind the decision of kofi annan announcing he is no longer going to be the u.s. special envoy to syria. the frustration you could -- it was palpable in his announcement.
>> absolutely. kofi annan has taken a lot of heat. the failure of the u.n. mission has really fallen directly on annan's shoulders, but he was pretty much put in an impossible situation. at the security council and united states and western countries are just at lauger heads with china and russia who aren't giving an inch. there isn't much annan can do if the big powers aren't cooperating.
>> that's some of what you tich on in the piece i mentioned. in terms of offering any sort of military assistance or anything of the like, which is not being discussed, it is a rather impossible position for those who say that's what we should be doing.
>> well, you know, there's a lot of pressure coming from top republicans like john mccain , who want the united states to give direct military aid . mitt romney has said we should give direct military aid to quote/unquote moderate opposition but the think the united states has determined it's hard to figure out who the moderate opposition is. once you get in for a dime, you're in for a dollar. i think the president's caution has been appropriate here.
>> blake, thank you.
>> thank you.