Lawmakers in the Democrat and Republican Parties claim that Barack Obama's "red line" in Syria had been crossed following administration officials revealing that the intelligence community believes chemical weapons had been used.
"Our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin," Miguel Rodriguez, director of the White House office of legislative affairs, wrote to senators on Thursday.
"Given our own history with intelligence assessments, including intelligence assessments related to WMD, it's very important that we are able to establish this with certainty and that we are able to provide information that is airtight ... to underpin all of our decision-making," the official said. "That is, I think, the threshold that is demanded given how serious this issue is."
"We want to continue to investigate above and beyond those intelligence assessments," the official said.
"Given the stakes involved, and what we have learned from our own recent experience, intelligence assessments alone are not sufficient — only credible and corroborated facts that provide us with some degree of certainty will guide our decision-making," the White House wrote in the letter to lawmakers.
Calls for strong U.S. involvement in the matter have been made and many believe this indicates that George W. Bush was right when he told the American people that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and that they found their way into Syrian hands.
Fox News reports,
"I worry that the president and the administration will use these caveats as an excuse not to act right away or act at all," McCain told Fox News. "The president clearly stated that it was a red line and that it couldn't be crossed without the United States taking vigorous action."
He called for the U.S. to help establish a no-fly zone and "safe zone" in Syria, as well as provide weapons to the "right people."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel first revealed the intelligence assessment, which was detailed in a letter to select members of Congress, while speaking to reporters on a visit to Abu Dhabi. The administration then released those letters, which said U.S. intelligence determined with varying degrees of confidence that "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin."
Secretary of State John Kerry further confirmed that there were two documented instances of chemical weapons use.
The White House, however, stressed that this was not enough to confirm how the nerve gas was released -- though acknowledged it is "very likely" to have originated with the regime of Bashar Assad -- and pressed the United Nations for a "comprehensive" investigation. The letter from the White House director of the Office of Legislative Affairs to leading members of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the assessment was based in part on "physiological samples."
The Hill reports,
The White House has resisted calls to provide lethal military aid to the Syrian rebels despite stepping up its non-lethal aid in recent weeks. Administration officials are concerned that weapons might end up in the hands of Islamic militants.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the intelligence community's conclusion that chemical weapons were used was made in the past 24 hours.
"We cannot confirm the origin of these weapons, but we do believe that any use of chemical weapons in Syria would very likely have originated with the Assad regime," Hagel said during a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
"It violates every convention of warfare," Hagel said, according to The Associated Press.
I'd say this is something that should be undertaken with caution. We've already seen how the Obama administration has aided Al-Qaeda under the guise of Libyan rebels and this simply opens up the door with this latest example. I am all for defeating jihadists, but remember who we would possibly be arming even more in the wake of Benghazi by intervening. Caution: consequences ahead.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook, Google Plus, & Twitter. You can also get Freedom Outpost delivered to your Amazon Kindle device here.