Obama administration officials briefed members of Congress on Thursday on the intelligence they say proves it was Syrian President Bashar Assad who used chemical weapons against his own people, writes NPR’s Eyder Peralta.
Frank Thorp, of NBC News, and Reuters report that after the conference call, Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, said the administration told them intercepted communications from high level officials proved it was the regime, not the rebels who used chemical weapons.
“They weren’t specific in terms of ‘Person A named so-and-so did this and said that.'” Thorp quotes Engel as saying.
This is not exactly new. Foreign Policy Magazine reported as much on Tuesday, saying “an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement after the briefing. He said that while he doesn’t support “boots on the ground,” he would support “surgical, proportional military strikes given the strong evidence of the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical warfare.”
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons requires a U.S. response.
“Tonight’s briefing reaffirmed for me that a decisive and consequential U.S. response is justified and warranted to protect Syrians, as well as to send a global message that chemical weapons attacks in violation of international law will not stand,” Menendez said in a statement.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 30, 2013
Today’s Question: Are you convinced the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people?