Time magazine says it has obtained a secret document that outlines efforts by President Bush to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The plan focuses on providing support for dissidents and groups opposing Assad with the aim of fomenting his downfall. The report sees elections set for March 2007 as "a potentially galvanizing issue" for critics of the regime.
Time reports that because the plan is ultimately a secret effort to influence a foreign government, critics inside the Beltway argue that it requires the White House to inform congressional intelligence committees. That, arguably, would call into question the use of publicly appropriated funds for a covert operation. A key element of the plan focuses on election monitoring. According to the document, "Any information regarding funding for domestic [Syrian] politicians for elections monitoring would have to be protected from public dissemination."